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IN 

John Galen Howard 
1864-1931 




THE BOOK 

OF 

JACK LONDON 

VOLUME II 




1914. JACK LONDON- WAR CORRESPONDENT 
Just departing for Vera Cruz with General Frederick Funston 



THE BOOK 

OF 

JACK LONDON 



BY 

CHARMIAN LONDON 



ILLUSTRATED WITH 
PHOTOGRAPHS 

VOLUME II 




NEW YORK 

THE CENTURY CO. 

1921 



Copyright, 1921, by 
THE CEKTUHY Co, 



Add 1 ! 



GIFT 

d 



Printed in U. S. A. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

XXV RETURN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE .... 3 

XXVI "SPRAY" CRUISE; GLEN ELLEN FROM NAPA; 

HOSPITAL; SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN . . 29 

XXVII SECOND MARRIAGE; LECTURE TRIP; BOSTON . 76 

XXVIII JAMAICA, CUBA, FLORIDA, NEW YORK CITY . 96 

XXIX CHICAGO ; RETURN TO OAKLAND, GLEN ELLEN ; 

EARTHQUAKE 112 

XXX "SNARE "VOYAGE 142 

XXXI THE * SNARK VOYAGE ; TRAMP COLLIER TY- 
MERIC" VOYAGE; ECUADOR; PANAMA; 

HOME 162 

XXXII RETURN FROM " SNARK" VOYAGE; A DAUGH 
TER is BORN 179 

XXXIII YACHT "ROAMER" 196 

XXXIV FOUR-HORSE DRIVING TRIP; NEW YORK CITY 212 
XXXV CAPE HORN VOYAGE 238 

XXXVI THE BAD YEAR; AGRICULTURE 252 

XXXVII NEW YORK; MEXICO; "ROAMER" ... 282 

XXXVIII "ROAMER"; RETURN To HAWAII; GLEN 

ELLEN; FORTIETH YEAR 304 

XXXIX THE WAR; HAWAII 320 

XL THE LAST SUMMER 352 

XLI APPENDIX 397 

v 



M842875 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

1914. Jack London War Correspondent . Frontispiece 

FACING PAOB 

1905. Jack London and His Daughters, Joan and Bess . 16 

1905. "The Sea Wolf" 33 

1906. Jack London and Alexander Irvine at Yale Uni 
versity 80 

Jack London, Luther Burbank, Professor Edgar Lucien 

Larkin 144 

1906. Jack on the Way to Luther Burbank s .... 144 
1908. Jack and Charmian London in Solomon Islands . 161 

1914. Yawl "Koamer" 208 

1907. "Snark" at Pearl Harbor 208 

Jack London s Imported English Sire Stallion "Neuadd 

Hillside" 225 

1915. Jack London at Truckee with "Cotty V Dogs . 225 

1910. Jack London on Sonoma Mountains Overlooking 
the Valley of the Moon .256 

1913. Jack London Contemplating His "Beauty Ranch" 273 

1915. At Waikiki, Honolulu 288 

1913. Aboard the "Roamer" 288 

1916. Jack and Charmian London at Waikiki, Honolulu 305 

1914. Jack and Charmian London in Vera Cruz, Mexico 305 

1916. Jack London, 6 Days Before He Died .... 336 

vii 



viii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PAOI 

The "Work-Room" Low Table Where He Wrote ... 353 
Jack London Two Weeks Before His Death .... 368 
Jack London s Grave on Sonoma Mountain , 385 



THE BOOK 

OF 

JACK LONDON 



THE 
BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

CHAPTER XXV 

RETURN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 

Autumn, 1904 

ON June 30, 1904, still in the ocean aboard the in 
coming S.S. Korea, from Yokohama, Jack London 
was served with papers for "separation and maintenance. * 
Moreover, he learned from the inhospitable messenger that 
an attachment had been levied by the plaintiff upon his 
personal property, even to his books, "My very tools of 
trade, " as he designated his library. The attachment 
spread to whatever funds might be due from his publishers, 
and covered his balance with The Examiner for the war 
articles all of it revenue which in his provident integrity 
he had sought almost solely for the benefit of his depend 
ents. 

He was generous until taken advantage of, and then 
divinely generous still, even to generosity becoming, in the 
nature of things, a mere duty. When questioned as to a 
seemingly short-sighted attitude that might work disad 
vantage to himself, his philosophy dictated the following: 

"If should sell off everything I possess, I would 

say, cheap at the price. The dollars do not amount to 
anything to me where human relations are concerned. I 
think I am the same way with my neck. I would trust it 
willingly to a friend, a dear friend, and if that friend 
should chop off my head, my head, rolling on the ground, 
would say, I am sure, * Cheap at the price. So I shall let 

3 



4 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

certain powers remain in So-and-So s hands. If such 
power is misused, why, what of it? The extent of its misuse 
would be as nothing to the fact that So-and-So had misused 
it, and I prefer to give the chance." 

To Cloudesley he sent a scribbled note: "Am back, 
rushed to death, and trying to straighten things out. At 
present all money tied up (earned and unearned) and don t 
know where I m at." 

And this was not the worst. A dear and wonderful 
friend had been ruthlessly named as co-respondent in the 
separation complaint and of course there ensued all the 
malodorous notoriety which accompanies such attacks. A 
hue and cry went up from a hypocritical capitalist press, 
quite as if Jack London were the first youth who ever re 
pented of a marital mistake. 

The girl s chief reply to the astonishing accusations, 
as recorded in the Bay dailies, was that the same were 
"merely vulgar." Jack, grieved to the heart that his be 
loved friends should be soiled in his unfortunate affairs, 
declined to comment upon the latter otherwise than: "I 
refuse to say a word about my separation. ... A man s 
private affairs are his private affairs." And as might be 
surmised, the "Herbert Wace" of the "Letters" was wide 
ly quoted. To the girl herself, Jack wrote, in part: 

"I do most earnestly hope that your name will not be linked 
any more with my troubles. It will soon die away, I believe. And 
so it goes, I wander through life delivering hurts to all that know 
me. . . . And so one pays . . . only, it is the woman who always 
pays. 

"Unspoilt in your idealism? And think of me as unsaved in 
my materialism. . . . However, I am changed. Though a ma 
terialist when I first knew you, I had the saving grace of enthu 
siasm. That enthusiasm is the thing that is spoiled, and I have 
become too sorry a thing for you to remember. " 

The original complaint, a lengthy arraignment 
abounding in curious charges, was eventually withdrawn 



RETURN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 5 

and another, this time for complete divorce instead of mere 
separation and maintenance, and on the ground of simple 
" desertion, " went before the court on August 2, 1904. 
This was allowed by default, Jack London not appearing. 
Property interests were adjusted out of court. 

Shortening down already insufficient sleep, beating his 
head with his fist to keep awake, Jack plunged deeper than 
ever into work. For he must immediately start building 
the new home for his little girls ; and this home, in addition 
to his other driven obligations, he personally superintended. 
As if all this were not enough, the death of Mammy Jennie s 
husband made it incumbent upon him to take over her 
affairs. 

The events of this summer of 1904 threw Jack into a 
melancholia that he tried to conceal under a carefree man 
ner when with the The Crowd picnicking in the hills, or 
rollicking in the Piedmont swimming baths his main rec 
reations. A letter to me aired his depression over the 
minuteness of human generosity and fair play : 

"It s sometimes a dreary thing to sit and watch the game 
played in the small and petty way. One who not only takes a hand 
in the game, but calmly sits outside as well and watches, usually 
sees the small and petty way, and is content to face immediate 
losses, knowing that the ultimate gain is his. It is so small, so 
pitifully small, that at worst it can produce only a passing glow 
of anger, and after that, pity only remains, and tolerance without 
confidence. Oh, why can t the men and women of this world learn 
that playing the game in the small way is the losing way? They 
are always doomed to failure when they play against the one who 
plays in the large way." 

So bleak was his spirit for a while, that more than once 
he considered, though with a terrible cheerlessness, return 
ing to the old order, what of love and sorrow for the babies. 
In a letter: "Believe me, ... it has taken all the resolu 
tion I could summon to prevent my going back, for the chil 
dren s sake. I have been sadly shaken during the last 



6 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

forty-eight hours so shaken that it almost seemed easier 
for me to sacrifice myself for the little ones. They are 
such joys, such perfect little human creatures. " But in 
after years he reviewed his state at that time: "If I had 
gone back, it would have meant suicide or insanity. " 

As it was, he was with the children frequently, either in 
their home or his own. 

My people wrote to me, in the east, that he had come 
to spend a week at Wake Robin Lodge, and his regard for 
the beautiful mountainside had only extended. 

Manyoungi, the brightest Korean in Jack s train with 
the Japanese First Army, had been brought by him to Cali 
fornia, for he needed just such a servitor to relieve him of 
all domestic friction in the little flat. This boy, resourceful 
and comely, took prideful charge from kitchen to study, 
and made entertaining an irresponsible pleasure to " Mas 
ter, as he continued to designate his employer, to the play 
ful horror of jeering friends, radical and otherwise. Find 
ing it useless, Jack gave up trying to dissuade Manyoungi 
from his long-time custom with European travelers to 
Korea, and submitted willingly to the ministrations of the 
perfect servant who assumed entire care of his wardrobe, 
even to dressing him in the morning. Jack s attitude upon 
personal service was to the effect that it saved him priceless 
minutes for work and reading. "Why tie my own shoes 
when I can have it done by some one whose business it is, 
while I am improving my mind or entertaining the fellows 
who drop in ! 

And many were the fellows who dropped in, persons 
from near and far flocking to look upon the face and hang 
upon the speech of the young writer. Jack, jealously con 
serving his every moment, saved hours by meeting them at 
mealtime : 

"Manyoungi, there ll be two to dinner this evening " 
or a dozen, or six; and the table blossomed forthwith by 
virtue of a complete set of exquisite Haviland china, with 



RETURN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 7 

silver and crystal and napery as faultless; to all of which 
beauty Jack, hospitality in his eye, had treated his longing 
soul upon taking up bachelor life. 

"If I had to be a servant, " he would muse, "I d be 
just such an one as Manyoungi. He possesses what I un 
derstand as the spirit of service to the finest degree." 

The spirit of service he appeared to love the quality, 
despite the popular idea of his socialism. Out of his own 
mouth: "If I were a servant, I d make myself the finest 
servant in the world." 

"The Faith of Men," another series of Klondike yarns, 
and ninth volume on the stretching shelf, had been pub 
lished by Macmillans in the spring, and autumn saw * t The 
Sea Wolf" beside it. The latter was given especially high 
acclaim by the reviewers. However, they persisted in 
pigeonholing it as essentially a man s book a book women 
would not care for;" and it was with loud glee that Jack 
later on received word that The Ladies Home Journal had 
purchased several thousand copies to be used as premiums 
to subscribers. Meanwhile, he tried his hand at writing a 
play, based upon his short story "Scorn of Women" 
frankly an experiment. This play at various times intrigued 
the fancy of one and another of "America s foremost ac 
tresses," but was never performed. Referring to the com 
ment of one star, Jack wrote me : 

", } i n suggestion of making a struggle between Freda and 

Mrs. E. for Capt. E., violates the eternal art canon of UNITY. 
It is ANOTHER story. 

"I violated all the conventional art-canons, but not one eternal 
art canon. 

"I wrote a play without a hero, without a villain, without a 
love-motif, and with two leading ladies. 

And to Anna Strunsky : 

"Am on third and last act of play, adapted from Scorn of 
Women, to be called The Way of Women.* Not a big effort. 



8 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Wouldn t dare a big effort. An experiment merely lots of horse 
play, etc., and every character, even Sitka Charley, is belittled. 

Then, in another paragraph, concerning his health: 

"I have been working hard, and what of my physical af 
flictions have been a pretty good recluse. . . . Yes, I am thin 
seven pounds off weight, and soft, which is equivalent to twelve 
pounds off weight altogether. My grippe was followed by a nerv 
ous itch, which heat aggravated, and I was prevented from exer 
cising for weeks. 

The " nervous itch" referred to gave Jack much dis 
quietude both mental and physical, and to the skin- and 
nerve-specialists not a little thought and experimentation. 
Under the most minute scrutiny, the skin revealed nothing 
that would lead to a diagnosis. Remained only to go into 
the question of nerves. The patient s dynamic habits of 
overwork in every department of his intellectual life, and 
his relentless limitation of repose, afforded good reason; 
on the other hand, he had pursued this system for many 
years, with no such warning as the present. 

By a process of elimination common to his drastic fash 
ion, he hit upon an apparently innocent custom indulged for 
some months past that of munching salted pecans and 
almonds while reading in bed. Possibly he had saturated 
himself with an excess of salt. (Physicians often reduce 
sodium chloride in the tissues and fluids for remedial pur 
poses, a method known as dechloridation.) He dropped this 
saline element from his dietary. The itch disappeared. 
Resuming the nut-refreshment, the affliction took a new 
lease of his hypersensitive surfaces, which flamed intoler 
ably at the slightest exertion. So acute was the disorder, 
that even the thought of it precipitated an attack. 

After convincing himself that salt was the offending 
factor, Jack went gaily to the specialists with his findings, 
and they agreed with his conclusion. His diagnosis was 
verified to his entire satisfaction when in tropic climes re- 



EETUBN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 9 

lapses followed long exposure to salt air and water; and 
even under a bright California sky in long periods of mid 
winter yachting. 

But there was no diminishing of his work; rather, he 
increased the staggering pace. Having reeled off an article 
entitled "The Yellow Peril" (now in collection " Revolu 
tion "), in which his sage views on the Asiatic situation were 
presented, he tackled a short novel. This was c The Game, " 
which might be termed a prizefight idyl its overarching 
motif being man s eternal struggle between woman and 
career. He wrote me : 

"Am slowly weaving The Game. You wouldn t think it diffi 
cult if you read it. Most likely a failure, but it is a splendid 
exercise for me. I am learning more of my craft. Some day I may 
master my tools." 

He loved the writing of it, for, like Keats, he loved a fair 
contest between man and man. It was not for the prize nor 
for brutality s sake, but for the cleanness of a scientific 
game Anglo-Saxon sport, square and true, as say against 
some other national sports like bull-fighting, where as a 
rule one contestant is doomed through trickery of superior 
intelligence. 

He enjoyed the creating of Genevieve, line for line. 
"Why, you d never guess where I got my model for her," 
he said to me afterward. i She was a candy-girl in a poor 
little sweet-shop in London. I never saw such a skin 
sprayed with color like your Duchesse roses out the window 
there. I used to hunt up a thirst for gallons of soft drinks 
just for excuse to go and sit at the dingy little counter and 
look shyly at her face, as a silly boy might. I did not even 
want to touch her and she hadn t a thing in her yellow 
head to talk about. It was just an abandonment to the 
prettiness and fragility of her English bloom." 

"The Game" was serialized in The Metropolitan Maga 
zine, illustrated by Henry Hutt in water-colors. And Jack 



10 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

had been right : it was for the most part a failure, so far as 
concerned the American public. For readers listened to 
the uncomprehending words of space-writers who totally 
missed the big motif, and neither knew nor cared to know 
aught of "the game" itself. Timely to the subject, I quote 
entire a letter Jack London wrote on August 18, 1905, to the 
editor of the New York Times: 

"As one interested in the play of life, and in the mental 
processes of his fellow-creatures, I have been somewhat amused by 
a certain feature of the criticisms of my prize-fighting story, The 
Game. This feature is the impeachment of my realism, the chal 
lenging of the facts of life as put down by me in that story. It is 
rather hard on a poor devil of a writer, when he has written what 
he has seen with his own eyes, or experienced in his own body, to 
have it charged that said sights and experiences are unreal and 
impossible. 

* But this is no new experience, after all. I remember a review 
of The Sea Wolf by an Atlantic Coast critic who seemed very 
familiar with the sea. Said critic laughed hugely at me because I 
sent one of my characters aloft to shift over a gaff-topsail. The 
critic said that no one ever went aloft to shift over a gaff-topsail, 
and that he knew what he was talking about because he had seen 
many gaff-topsails shifted over from the deck. Yet I, on a seven- 
months cruise in a topmast schooner, had gone aloft, I suppose, 
a hundred times, and with my own hands shifted tacks and sheets 
of gaff-topsails. 

"Now to come back to The Game. As reviewed in the New 
York Saturday Times, fault was found with my realism. I doubt 
if this reviewer has had as much experience in such matters as I 
have. I doubt if he knows what it is to be knocked out, or to knock 
out another man. I have had these experiences, and it was out of 
these experiences, plus a fairly intimate knowledge of prize-fighting 
in general, that I wrote The Game. 

"I quote from the critic in the Saturday Times: 

" Still more one gently doubts in this particular 
case, that a blow delivered by Ponta on the point of 
Fleming s chin could throw the latter upon the 



RETURN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 11 

padded canvas floor of the ring with enough force to 
smash in the whole back of his skull, as Mr. London 
describes. 

All I can say in reply is, that a young fighter in the very club 
described in my book, had his head smashed in this manner. Inci 
dentally, this young fighter worked in a sail-loft and took remark 
ably good care of his mother, brother and sisters. 

"And oh, one word more. I have just received a letter from 
Jimmy Britt, light-weight champion of the world, in which he tells 
me that he particularly enjoyed The Game/ on account of its 
trueness to life. 

"Very truly yours, 

"Jack London/ 

Jack always remained a champion of this book of his, 
not only in view of its subject but also of his workmanship. 
When Great Britain received it with intense appreciation, 
placing "this cameo of the ring" alongside other favorites 
like "Cashel Byron s Profession," the author was exultant 
with vindication. And yet, only the other day in fact, I 
picked up an American newspaper clipping in which * The 
Game" was tossed aside as "that Jack London novel with 
out an excuse!" 

With reference to some tentative and evidently short 
sighted criticism I had made of the manuscript, he re 
sponded : 

"And, by the way, remember that anybody, by hard 
work, can achieve precision of language, but that very few 
can achieve strength of style. What knocks E ? Pre 
cision. To be precise he has pruned away all strength. 
What the world wants is strength of utterance, not pre 
cision of utterance. Remember that about all the precise 
ways of saying things have already been said ; the person 
who would be precise is merely an echo of all the precise 
people who have gone before, and such a person s work is 
bound to be colorless and insipid. Think it over. Let us 
talk all these things over." 



12 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

I remember, when he referred to a rusty pipe as "a 
streak of rust," wishing that I had thought of it first! 

Ere the ink was dry on the packet that inclosed his 
manuscript of The Game to the editor, he was busy upon 
memoranda for his next novel in mind, White Fang." 
On December 6, I received a handful of notes by mail, with 
the following comments : 

1 Find here, and please return, the motif for my very next book. 
A companion to "The Call of the Wild. Beginning at the very 
opposite end evolution instead of devolution; civilization instead 
of decivilization. It is distinctly NOT to be a sequel. Merely 
same length, dog-story, and companion story. I shall not call it 
Call of the Tame, but shall have title quite dissimilar to Call of 
Wild. There are lots of difficulties in the way, but I believe I 
can make a cracker jack of it have quit the play for a day to 
think about it. 

"May go East in January after all for two or three months 
lecturing." 

By now, I was back from the east and living at Wake 
Eobin Lodge with my Aunt, putting in hours a day at the 
piano. Meanwhile my services were offered to Jack in 
the matter of relieving him of typewriting, a suggestion 
that met with glad response ; and I was thus brought into 
closer touch with his work and aims. My remuneration 
and that a treasure was the possession of his handwritten 
pages. Except for a few short stories and articles, the 
play " Scorn of Women" was my first typing for him, and 
by mail we exchanged some lively discussions of its tech 
nique before final completion. One of his letters contains 
this lamentation : 

"I did 1000 words (dialogue and direction) on the first act of 
the play to-day. Oh, how it puzzles me and worries me, that play. 
Sometimes all seems clear (and good) and next it seems all rot and 
a rotten failure. But I do n t care. Though I never get a cent for 
it, I m learning a whole lot about play-writing." 



RETURN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 13 

Here are the last two 1904 communications to Cloudesley 
Johns : 

"1216 Telegraph Avenue, 

"Dec. 8, 1904. 

"I had to tell Black Cat that the idea of my story was not 
original [this was A Nose for the King, published in The Black Cat 
for March, 1906, and collected in When God Laughs ] having been 
told me by a Korean. So I don t know whether my chance is 
spoiled or not. 

"Sure, I ll come to stay with you if I can bring Manyoungi. 
Only too glad. Expect to be down in first part of January. 

I went to look at the Spray to-day. First time since that night 
we came in from Petaluma. Won t be able to get out on her this 
year. 

I have heard Jack London remark that Miss Mary 
Shaw, whom he met after a San Francisco performance of 
"Mrs. Warren s Profession," was the most intellectual 
actress he had ever talked with. And to Cloudesley: 

"Yes met Miss Shaw went to dinner. Liked her better than 
any actress ever met." 

Every moment energy incarnate, he rushed and crowded 
as if to preclude thinking of aught except the work or re 
creation of the moment. Speed, speed and he began sav 
ing for a big red motor-car to mend the general pace. He 
fell ill another severe attack of grippe that compelled 
him to ease up ; but the instant his brain cleared of dizziness, 
his incredible activities were resumed. And he always made 
it a religious duty personally to answer every letter re 
ceived. Often I read the following, at the end of hastily 
scrawled notes to me : " This is the last of 30 [or 40, or 50] 
letters I have just reeled off." 

And this: 

1 I never had time to bore myself Do you know I never 
have a moment with myself am always doing something 



14 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

when I am alone I shall work till midnight to-night, then 
bed, and read myself to sleep." 

To which I, tinged with sorrow and foreboding: 
"You make me sad. You haven t time to live; so 
what s the use of living?" 

One of Jack s relaxations, if the word can apply to the 
tense interest he took in game and sport, and his unquench 
able joy in the pard-like beauty of an athlete, was following 
the monthly boxing bouts at the West Oakland Athletic 
Club, the scene of the prizefight in "The Game." A char 
acteristic incident has been offered me by a newspaperman, 
Mr. Fred Goodcell, who made his acquaintance one day 
when Jack had, for the first time in years, dropped in to 
see his old friend Johnny Heinold in the First and Last 
Chance. I give Mr. GoodcelPs version of one evening that 
Jack described to me at the time : 

"It was some weeks later that I met Jack again. I call him 
Jack, not because close acquaintanceship would permit, but because 
I believe all the world thinks of him in that intimate way. He 
was n t a man to be Mistered. 

* This second meeting was at the box office of the West Oakland 
Athletic Club. The bouts were staged in an upstairs hall, far too 
small for the crowds that came, a fire trap that would make a Hun 
bomb thrower envious, but sweating, shouting, smoking fight-fans 
gathered there and cheered the ham and egg boys as they slugged 
through four rounds, unless a knockout brought earlier surcease. 

"Jack was at the box office trying to buy a front seat. There 
was none to be had. Just then I arrived and with an extra press 
ticket in my pocket invited Jack to be my guest. He accepted and 
we occupied ringside seats. 

"On the card this night there was one fighter called The Rat. 
I never knew him by any other name. I knew The Rat to be an 
Italian huckster. ... To me he was a fifth-rate fighter, lacking 
brains to be anything better. But Jack became enthusiastic : 

" What a beauty, he remarked. 

" That s The Rat, I answered. 

" A beauty, he resumed, enthusiastically. A perfect speci- 



EETUEN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 15 

men. Can t you see it? Beautifully molded, young, full of life; 
the cautious tread of an animal and perfect symmetry in every 
limb." 

"As a matter of fact, The Rat possessed a face that became 
a fighter accustomed to taking the short end of the purse. He was 
homely his face was, but Jack London looked and saw beauty in 
the perfection of his naked body. To me he was The Rat and he 
was homely ; to Jack he was a beauty. He had seen beauty where 
I had missed it. Perhaps that is one of the secrets of his success 
his ability to see more than the rest of us, to pick out the beauty 
from the drab. 

The fight over, I asked Jack to write me a brief account of the 
show. He agreed, but his 150 or 200 words were about The Rat/ 
His story, signed By Jack London, was published in the Oakland 
Herald. The one story led to others. London yearned for the 
ringside seats, not because of any ambition to be up in front, but 
because from the ringside he could have an unobstructed view of 
the ring, could watch every blow, see everything that took place. 
And so we made a deal, I to supply a ringside seat for each show 
and London to write a signed story regarding the show, or some 
feature of it. This continued three cr four months and the Jack 
London stories became big features, features that are undoubtedly 
to-day prized by many old-time fighters, too old now to enter the 
padded arena, but proud that Jack London wrote about them. 

In addition to all else, he dashed off requested stories 
for The Examiner, one of which was The Great Socialist 
Vote Explained" a similar article going to Wilshire s 
Magazine. Many an evening was filled with a reading or 
a lecture at this club and that. One night he talked at the 
Home Club of Oakland, on Japan ; on another, he spoke at 
the Nile Club, in acknowledgment of an honorary member 
ship; he read to the New Era Club, the men s league of the 
Methodist Church, from "The People of the Abyss "; "The 
Call of the Wild" of course was often asked for; and 
whenever Mr. Bamford sent out invitations to a Ruskin 
Club dinner, Jack was expected to be on the program. At 
one dinner he gave them The Class Struggle, and again 



16 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"The Scab." Both these papers were later collected in 
"War of the Classes/ proof-sheets of which in the spring 
he sent me for correction. In among Jack s correspondence 
with me is laid away a little handwritten sheet from which 
he made a statement to the Ruskin Club of his Socialistic 
position : 

1 I am a socialist, first, because I was born a proletarian 
and early discovered that for the proletariat socialism was the only 
way out ; second, ceasing to be a proletarian and becoming a para 
site (an artist parasite, if you please), I discovered that socialism 
was the only way out for art and the artist. 

The Buskin Club several times mentioned was composed 
of what might be termed the intellectual aristocracy of the 
socialists about the Bay. Its father and moving spirit was 
Professor Frederick Irons Bamford, "the lion-hearted 
one," Jack lovingly called him, for despite an agonizingly 
supersensitive nature he was made of the stuff of martyrs. 
And to Comrade Lyon Jack one evening observed : l Bam 
ford is the only man in the Euskin Club who makes me feel 
small." The Club would meet here and there, at irregular 
intervals, say at Piedmont Park Clubhouse, or the Hotel 
Metropole of "Martin Eden" fame. Notable were these 
affairs, often in honor of big men in the movement, as well 
as in honor of men whom the Club strove to convert to its 
banner. 

He would even go out of the Bay region to lecture, per 
haps to San Jose where, as guest of Professor Henry Meade 
Bland, he addressed the State Normal; or to Vallejo where 
ashore from the Spray he had made friends ; once or twice 
to Stockton, making headquarters with Johannes Eeimers. 
One of Mr. Eeimers sons found himself abruptly unpopular 
with his teachers because of his father s firebrand socialist 
guest; a circumstance in which Jack s quick natural regret 
was tempered by the reflection : 1 1 That young fellow is the 
stuff that opposition will make a man of!" 



EETUEN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 17 

Perhaps I have not mentioned that Jack never attended 
any lectures except his own. "I do not waste my time 
listening to lectures," he put it. "I d rather read. I get 
more for myself, without the personality of the speaker 
coming between. And I cover more ground." The fol 
lowing, from another s pen, seems to expess what Jack 
meant : "To attend a motion picture play is to be primi 
tive ; to listen to an orator is to be a cave man ; to read is to 
be civilized!" 

In a vast ledger, clipping-book of 1904, pasted by his 
children s mother and Eliza Shepard, I find several humor 
ous newspaper squibs upon Jack s being made a member 
of the Bohemian Club despite his soft-collared silk shirt 
and other ineradicable preferences. Indeed, this was 
not the first capitulation of clubdom to his apparel. 
And the press was often the reverse of reliable, as in the 
case of a certain affair in Jack s honor given by the ex 
clusive feminine Ebell Club of Oakland, when, it is to this 
day firmly believed by newspaper readers, he lectured in a 
red flannel shirt. I have Jack s word that outside of those 
brilliant Klondike undergarments, and possibly while 
stoking a steamship passage, never in his whole existence 
did he affect scarlet flannel. When he did don woolens at 
all, as say at sea, it was of navy-blue. Even his trusty 
sweater, though as described in my Prologue he early wore 
it in making social calls on his bicycle, never appeared upon 
the platform. A white, soft shirt, with flowing tie, worn 
with a black, sack-coated suit, was his evening dress. 

Handling the item of Jack London s entrance into the 
Bohemian Club, one San Francisco sheet, The Wasp, 
avoided the humorous note to such a virulent extent as ta 
defeat its ends. Being by all counts the most venomous 
slam in all the scrapbooks, it is too comical not to quote en 
tire especially in view of the fact that at about the date of 
its publication a portion of "The Call of the Wild" had 
been incorporated into a text-book on English used in the 



18 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

University of California, forerunner of others of his books 
to be adjudged " classics " by that institution: 

"Jack London s 8hirt Vindicated. 

1 The Bohemian Club has relented toward Jack London s negli 
gee shirt and taken the novelist into membership honorary mem 
bership at that. Why honorary, I cannot say. Certainly, it is not 
on the strength of Mr. London s The Call of the Wild/ which de 
serves to take rank as an average Sunday supplement story in a 
yellow newspaper. Neither can it be his Sea Wolf that has raised 
him into a niche in the Bohemian Temple of Honor beside Charles 
Warren Stoddard, Henry Irving, and Joaquin Miller. The Wasp 
would be only too glad to help in placing laurels on the brow of 
Mr. London if he deserved them, but he must furnish better evi 
dence of his literary quality before this journal will assist in dec 
orating him. The Wasp decorates as masters no- apprentices whose 
work is more conspicuous for its blemishes than its finish. I have 
said that Mr. Jack London s Call of the Wild belongs to the 
Sunday supplement order. His Sea Wolf is better adapted as a 
serial for the Coast Seamen s Journal and the habitues of the 
Fair Wind and the Blue Anchor saloons on the city front than 
for the shelves of libraries or the tables of reading rooms frequented 
by people of even superficial culture. It lacks every essential of a 
thoroughly good novel except nice binding, careful printing, and 
excellent illustrations. The best that can be said of it is that it 
is a poor and clumsy imitation of the new Russian school of tramp 
literature, which has given to the world a series of novels dealing 
with the scum of humanity, with brutal frankness. When one has 
waded through The Sea Wolf by a laborious effort the conviction 
is irresistible that the author shows more fitness for the post of 
second mate of a whaler than a leader of the great army of imagina 
tive scribblers." 

While on the theme, I might say in passing that Jack 
London was not at any period a zealous clubman. He be 
longed to no large club bodies otherwise than the Bohemian ; 
and the famous rooms in San Francisco saw him little and 
at prolonged intervals, when he chanced to be in the neigh 
borhood for some other purpose. After the Great Earth- 



RETURN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 19 

quake and Fire, the new clubrooms and the Sultan Turkish 
Baths were rebuilt in close proximity. We often, Jack and 
I, finished off a theater night at the Baths, but first he 
would drop in at the Club for poker or pedro or bridge, and 
I can still hear his drowsy-happy voice over the Baths tele 
phone from the men s floor, telling me of his luck for the 
voice was sure to be happy from his pleasure in the game, 
be luck good or ill. And whenever feasible, our world-wan 
derings led homeward in midsummer, that he might spend 
at least one week of High Jinks at Bohemian Grove, sit 
uated but a few miles from the Ranch. For he dreaded fore 
going the marvelous annual Grove Play, words and music, 
acting and staging, all done by members of the Club only. 

January, 1905, was an especially full month. The first 
week saw Jack in Los Angeles, visiting Cloudesley Johns 
in the quaint rambling home at 500 North Soto Street, where 
he reveled in the companionship of his friend s family. 
The grandmother, Mrs. Rebecca Spring, was Jack s par 
ticular joy. She was one of California s most remarkable 
women, friend of Margaret Fuller, Emerson, Holmes, Long 
fellow; and she subsequently died in dissatisfaction with 
Life, because Life cheated her by a few short weeks of at 
taining her centenary. 

He also visited the Mathers in Pasadena, for the 
daughter of the house, Miss Katherine, had been a fel 
low passenger on the Siberia to Japan. And of course he 
attended the yearly winter Rose Carnival of her city. This 
vacation, like his life in Oakland, was without repose of 
spirit or body rush, rush from daybreak to even-fall, and 
for the best hours of the night. While in Los Angeles, he 
spoke for the Socialists, who rented the Simpson Auditor 
ium for the occasion. Miss Constance L. Skinner, poet 
and historian, another member of the Johns fascinat 
ing household, who evoked Jack s admiration and regard, 
ably reported the lecture, which was on the subject of "Rev- 



20 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

olution, for the Los Angeles Examiner. Strangely enough, 
the radicals of the * l City of Angels, when publishing their 
favorite picture of Jack, replaced the sweater by a formal 
suit and collar, drawn quite to order, beneath which Jack 
scratched a disgusted comment. 

His introduction at that meeting was not to his liking, 
according to his comrade J. B. Osborne, of Oakland : i l The 
Chairman introduced him as a ripe scholar, a profound 
philosopher, a literary genius and the foremost man of let 
ters in America. . . . When London arose, dressed in good 
clothes but wearing a soft shirt, he said : 

" Comrade Chairman and Fellow Workers: I was not 
flattered by all the encomiums heaped upon me by the chair 
man, for the reason that before people had given me any 
of these titles which the chairman so lavishly credits me, I 
was working in a cannery, a pickle factory, had my applica 
tion in with Murray and Ready for common labor, was a 
sailor before the mast, and worked months at a time looking 
for work in the ranks of the unemployed ; and it is the pro 
letarian side of my life that I revere the most and to which 
I will cling as long as I live." 

Once more in his home town, Jack set others than the 
County of Alameda by the ears by consenting to an oft- 
repeated request from the President of the University of 
California, Dr. Benjamin Ide Wheeler (in 1919, Emeritus), 
to address the students in Harmon Gymnasium. And 
"choose your own subject anything at all," Jack was left 
to consult his fancy. Now was his big chance to let loose a 
thunderbolt in the sacred groves, and he armed for the 
fray. 

The day was the 20th of January. Humming across the 
campus from North Berkeley in the morning sunlight, 
fresh from an hour with my piano teacher, Mrs. Fred Gut- 
terson, herself pupil of Bauer and Leschetizsky and Car- 
reno, I turned westerly toward the "Gym" where I had 



RETURN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 21 

danced so many an evening away. And who should 
come stepping along with a smile in his eyes but our young 
friend, who explained that he had come out early in order 
to think quietly upon what he was going to say and how 
he was going to say it. 

At the entrance we parted, I to become one of the several 
thousand, students and citizens, who packed the huge elon 
gated octagon, Jack London to take his seat with the 
faculty convened upon the platform. President Wheeler 
presented the speaker, and the speaker went into action 
without preamble, head high, eyes grave and dark, voice 
challenging as he rapped out the short crisp sentences : 

"I received a letter the other day. It was from a man 
in Arizona, It began, Dear Comrade. It ended, * Yours 
for the Revolution. I replied to the letter, and my letter 
began, Dear Comrade. It ended Yours for the Revolu 
tion. " 

The house thereupon settled to listen spellbound to the 
strangest statement of facts and opinions ever enunciated 
within the college walls. Dr. Wheeler, conventional em 
bodiment of what by all tradition the head of a great uni 
versity should be, sat aghast at what he had done. But it 
must be said that he was game; for when Jack, on the 
stroke of noon, realizing he was over his time, paused on 
tiptoe and asked, "Shall I stop?" the President came back 
hurriedly and with perfect courtesy: "No, go on go on." 

The last words of unequivocal indictment of so 
ciety s mismanagement of society rang out clear from 
the upraised young face that had been imperially stern 
throughout, "The revolution is here, now. Stop it who 
can!" The audience, from whatever mixture of emotions, 
resounded in mighty applause. This was followed by a 
rouse from the Glee Club, composed for the renowned ex- 
student of the college. Meanwhile the faculty crowded 
about him, some in protest, some in curiosity, all with keen 
interest from one motive or another. 



22 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

One humorous incident crept in: Jack in the course 
of his indictment had attacked the antiquated meth 
ods common to institutions of learning. When he stepped 
from the rostrum, according to one who stood near, " Pro 
fessor Charles Mills Gayley greeted him and congratulated 
him upon his literary success. The author during their con 
versation reiterated his opinion of the deficiencies in teach 
ing methods. He said : 

" Dr. Gayley, permit me to make the criticism that 
English is not being taught in the right way. You are 
giving the students for their textbooks such antiquated 
authors as Macaulay, Emerson and others of the same 
school. What you need in your course is a few of the more 
modern types of literature 

"Here Dr. Gayley interrupted with a dry smile: 

< Perhaps you are not aware, Mr. London, that we are 
using your own "Call of the Wild" as a textbook in the 
University r " 

Jack surrendered, laughing with the others. 

The evening papers and their morning associates treated 
the lecture with unexpected leniency. But when the press 
in general (Jack meantime repeating the speech at every 
opportunity) had had time to catch its breath, there was 
nothing too vicious nor unfair that could be printed of his 
utterances. There were exceptions, to be sure, the Oakland 
Tribune being one of those which remained loyal to "our 
own Jack." But the majority deliberately distorted his 
words, and robbed of its context the quoted phrase "To 
Hell with the Constitution " notorious exclamation made 
by Sherman Bell, when that capitalistic leader of troops 
for the employers in Colorado, during the recent scandalous 
labor war that had raged there, was reproved for riding 
roughshod over the Constitution. Jack was held up as a 
dangerous anarchist the same platitudinous old charge of 
the capitalist press against the socialist. And carefully 
editors refrained from embodying in their columns the 



EETUEN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 23 

statement that the social revolution was, as announced by 
the speaker, "to be fought, not with bombs, but with votes. " 
Nor did President Wheeler escape his share of criti 
cism for having allowed so incendiary a character to sully 
the choice air of Berkeley. Again he was game, if a little 
condescending as befitted the dignity of his years and posi 
tion, and the closing sentence in this excerpt from his letter 
to The Argonaut held him inviolate as concerned misappre 
hension of his own views : 

"I think you ought to know that we never stipulate or inquire 
concerning the subject a speaker is to discuss at such a meeting. 
We intend to ask only such to speak as have by achievement earned 
the personal right to be heard. We seek the man and not the sub 
ject. I conceive it to be of highest value for students to meet and 
hear men who have honorably wrought and done in various fields. 
I introduce them to the students, and rarely, if ever, mention any 
subject. Jack London is a former student of the university, and 
has surely won an honorable distinction in the field of letters. And, 
after all, is it best for us to start an Index of tabooed subjects? 
One way to deal with a hard boiling tea-kettle is to take off the lid." 

One paper, however, noted that Jack London, socialist, 
affected illustrious company, naming amongst others, H. G. 
Wells and George Bernard Shaw. 

Some of the students of the old Oakland High wanted 
Jack to lecture, but promptly went up against the bars shut 
by Superintendent of Schools McClymonds and Principal 
Pond. Also, was he not a divorced man, inimical to the 
sanctity of hearth and home? How pitifully trivial and 
pettish all this hullabaloo of little editors squeaks amidst 
the slashing, smashing events following the World War! 

On the 29th of January Jack read "The Tramp " an 
other "War of the Classes" article, at Socialist Headquar 
ters in Oakland. And a few weeks afterward I wrote him : 

* * Probably you already know it, but I 11 repeat it anyway that 
following your lecture at the University a few of the students 



24 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

organized a socialist club. This was announced at the Ruskin Club 
dinner last Friday evening. I know it will please you I remem 
ber what you said to me the day of your lecture : that you would be 
satisfied if perhaps only a half dozen of the students were im 
pressed. 

This club was the nucleus of the subsequent Intercol 
legiate Socialist Society, of which Jack London was elected 
the first President. 

Near the end of January, he went one evening to see 
Blanche Bates at the Macdonough Theatre in Oakland, in 
The Darling of the Gods. Turning over in his mind the 
suitability of Miss Bates to the character of Freda Moloof 
in his own play " Scorn of Women, " he attended three con 
secutive performances from front-row vantage, the eager- 
eyed boy studying the young star carefully to this end. And 
naturally, by the time he had schemed an introduction, 
called upon her at the Hotel Metropole, and given a dinner 
in her honor, the papers had blazoned their plighted troth 
the vigorous denials of both parties rendering new head 
lines in the next issues, and causing no end of mirth to the 
pair as well as the public. 

It was not until the first week in February, 1905, that 
Jack and Cloudesley got the Spray up-river. Just be 
fore sailing from Oakland City Wharf, Jack accepted the 
socialist nomination for Mayor of Oakland. On the same 
ticket were Austin Lewis for City Attorney, with J. B. 
Osborne councilman for third ward. And who should be 
nominee for Mayor on the Independent Ticket, but John 
London s old friend John L. Davie? On the morning of 
election, one local sheet had it: "All the nominees for 
Mayor, with the exception of Jack London, socialist can 
didate, were conspicuous about the polls. And Jack polled 
981 votes at that. Knowing how personally distasteful the 
holding of public office would be to him, I once asked: 



RETURN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 25 

"What would you do if you should accidentally be elected 
to some of these political positions you let yourself in for?" 

" There s not the least chance, my dear," he replied; 
then realizing he had not answered my question, he laughed, 
"I wouldn t let my name be used if I thought there was the 
slightest possibility of winning. If I did by chance get 
elected, I guess I d run away to sea or somewhere with 
you!" 

Meantime, I had taken to my room with an abscess in 
the left ear, made doubly torturing by neuralgia. For it is 
a nipping winter one may experience on Sonoma Mountain. 
The trouble was assumably due to long hours swimming 
and diving in the Oakland baths on cold days, and more 
especially a certain oft-repeated, twenty-two-foot jump in 
which Jack had coached me. Such an anomaly as un- 
health on the part of "the Cheery One," as he liked to call 
me, was sufficient to make Jack desert the sloop somewhere 
along Petaluma Creek, leaving his friend and Manyoungi 
aboard, and footing it to the nearest railway for Glen Ellen. 
Reaching Wake Robin Lodge after nightfall, he stood for 
long contemplative minutes at the low casement of the red- 
wooded living room, gazing in at the unwonted spectacle of 
said Cheery One supine upon a couch, her head swathed in 
warm bandages. 

Two days he remained, reading aloud to me by the hour ; 
and I can vouch that no one ever knew tenderer nurse. So 
improved was I that on the second evening I rose hungry 
for the first time in weeks, and joined my nurse in a 
stealthy raid upon Auntie s sweet-smelling pantry. Re 
turning to the big fireplace with our spoils of honey and 
biscuits and sun-dried figs, we feasted and giggled like 
truant schoolfellows. Truly, in our long years together, 
so few are the memories of irresponsible tranquil hiatuses 
in Jack s driven habit, that they stand forth in relief ap 
parently out of all proportion to their importance. Not 
so, however; they showed him capable of the purest en- 



26 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

joyment of that sheer nonsense which relaxes a brain ordi 
narily over-conscious. 

I recall an uproarious afternoon a few months later, 
when we two spent hours in a hammock under the laurels, 
doing nothing more profitable than manufacturing the most 
absurdly banal of limericks. Again, years afterward, 
I see in memory the twain of us, replete with picnic luncheon 
and good nature, prone upon the green outer declivity of 
a fern-lined crater in Hawaii euphoniously styled Puuhuu- 
luhulu. We peered over-edge into the giddy emerald cup 
and planned, in very extravagance of lazy foolishness, all 
the details of a country home in the pit, even to an adjust 
able glass roof against tropic showers ! 

Pain and house-confinement were happily mitigated 
by Jack s sympathy, both during his visit and thereafter, 
when such notes as these drifted to me from the Spray s 
pleasant course up the Sacramento river : 

"Rio Vista, Feb. 10, 1905. 

"I think continually of you, lying there through the long days 
and longer nights, and I look forward almost as keenly as you, I 
am sure, for the blessed time when you will be up and around and 
your old self again. 

"Got here last night. The river is booming. Flood tide is not 
felt at all. Current runs down all the time. Expect to go to 
Walnut Grove and then down through Georgiana Slough to the 
San Joaquin and up to Stockton." 

"Rio Vista, Feb. 11, 1905. 

"Your short note just received. I am haunted right along by 
seeing you lying there, the bandage around your head and the 
cloth over your eyes. I do so look for improvement, and yet the 
north wind is blowing to-day which is bad for you. Do let me 
know every bit of improvement as soon as it comes. 

"I have nothing to write in the way of news. Am working 
hard. Did 1000 words to-day. We have been here two days now, 
and I have not yet been ashore, though the town is interested in 
my existence. Have already 3 invitations to dinner, etc., and a 



EETUEN FROM KOREA; DIVORCE 27 

launch is expected off in a few minutes with admirers ( !). Also, 
Brown came aboard with a bunch of violets in his collar, sent, so 
Cloudesley avers, by the prettiest girl in California. 
"Guess 111 take up one dinner invite to-night." 

This mention of Brown calls to mind that Jack had 
become unexpectedly possessed of "twa dogs," one, a valu 
able lost Chow who presented himself at the front door, and 
tarried entirely at home for some weeks, when his rightful 
owner was discovered. The other was an Alaskan wolf- 
dog, a true " husky," brown-and-white of furry coat and 
fine of brush, with slant, watchful eyes and pointed ears, 
and a limp in the off hind-leg that was eloquent of sled and 
trail. His master, an old Klondiker, had lately died; and 
though strangers to Jack London, the relatives asked him 
if he would accept " Brown." Jack was willing, but the 
animal had other views, and sought every loophole to 
escape from the little yard at the rear of the flat (which 
sometimes was the ring for spirited bouts with the gloves), 
or from the front door when he was entertained within, 
to return to his loved one s house. Jack, after trying 
every cajolement to win him over, and going himself or 
sending his nephew or Manyoungi countless times to re 
trieve the estray, swore roundly that when Brown again 
ran away he could stay. But the dog had been making his 
own adjustment, and the next fruitless pilgrimage to the 
old home was his last. From the second story window Jack 
saw him cantering cheerfully back, and bounded downstairs 
to welcome him right comradely. Thenceforth Brown at 
tached himself with the mute adoration of a soul dis 
illusioned of all else in the world. Mute? Why, that dear 
lonely dog-fellow of our first married year was never heard 
to bark except upon two occasions when he thought Jack 
imperilled by a fractious horse. One day in the summer 
I asked : 



28 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"Now, what do you suppose Brown Wolf would do, if 
his old master should suddenly pop up beside you?" 

"A story right there don t breathe another word for a 
minute, Jack flashed at me, scribbling like mad on a note 
pad, his deep mouth-corners turned up pleasedly with the 
scent of a new motif. The tale "Brown Wolf," in 
collection "Love of Life," was the sequel of the incident. 
That pleased expression recalls that always when lost in 
his morning s work, no matter how reluctantly begun, there 
was a half -smile lurking about his lips the while he bent 
concentrated over the broad tablet upon which the inky-wet 
characters sprawled and sprawled. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

"SPRAY" CBTJISE; GLEN ELLEN FROM NAPA; HOSPITAL; SUMMER 

AT GLEN ELLEN 

1905 

THE Spray s ramblings were to lead aside into Napa 
River to the pretty city of the same name that lies in 
the next inland valley to Sonoma. Here Jack was to 
visit the Winships, friends made on the voyage to Japan; 
and he sent me word that he would ride across the hills to 
spend several days with us at Wake Robin Lodge. He ar 
rived on February 12, a showery Sunday, astride a harass 
ing livery hack, both horse and horseman much the worse 
for the twenty miles. Jack wore a nerve-racked look, and 
my Aunt and I were solicitous, although we avoided adver 
tising the same. The boy was in veritable distress, never 
quiet for a moment. His great-pupiled eyes were haunted 
with a hopeless weariness, and glassy as from fever. He 
talked very hard, as if against time, or in fear of silence. In 
the evening, as we clustered about the fireplace, my Aunt 
asked : 

"Jack, my dear, why don t you get out of the city for 
a while, bring your work, and Manyoungi to look after your 
wants, take a little cottage here and rest and work far 
away from excitement and people ! 7 

The eyes he raised to her face were as of some creature 
hunted. He shifted uneasily, almost as if embarrassed, and 
the corners of his mouth drooped like a child s on the verge 
of tears. Yet when he replied it was with a tinge of im 
patience, though a pitiful tiredness lay under the tone : 

29 



30 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

" Oh, Mother Mine thank you. . . You re kind. . 
But. . . but I think that the very quiet would drive 
me crazy. " 

It was a wail to be left alone in his impotence, and no 
further reference was made to the matter until the night 
before he departed. 

The only recurrence of the temperamental joyance that 
was a large part of his nature was when he related the 
Spray s experience. For no sadness of soul could ever rob 
Jack London of his native delight in a boat. In relation to 
this very trip, I am tempted to quote from "Small-Boat 
Sailing" (in "The Human Drift"): 

11 After all, the mishaps are almost the best part of small-boat 
sailing. Looking back, they prove to be punctuations of joy. 
There are enough surprises and mishaps in a three-days cruise in 
a small boat to supply a great ship on the ocean for a full year. 
I remember taking out a little thirty-footer I had bought. In six 
days we had two stiff blows, and, in addition, one proper south- 
wester and one ripsnorting southeaster. The slight intervals be 
tween these blows were dead calms. Also, in the six days, we were 
aground three times. Then, too, we tied up to a bank on the 
Sacramento river, and, grounding by an accident on the steep slope 
of a falling tide, nearly turned a side somersault down the bank. 
In a stark calm and a heavy tide in the Carquinez Straits, where 
anchors skate on the channel-scoured bottom, we were sucked 
against a big dock and smashed and bumped down a quarter of a 
mile of its length before we could get clear. Two hours afterward, 
on San Pablo Bay, the wind was piping up and we were reefing 
down. It is no fun to pick up a skiff adrift in a heavy sea and gale. 
That was our next task, for our skiff, swamping, parted both tow 
ing painters we had bent on. Before we recovered it we had nearly 
killed ourselves with exhaustion, and certainly had strained the 
sloop in every part from keelson to truck. And to cap it all, com 
ing into our home port, beating up the narrowest part of the San 
Antonio Estuary, we had a shave of inches from collision with a 
big ship in tow of a tug." 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 31 

Once, during his five-days stay, I prevailed upon him to 
walk up the tree-embowered mountain road that skirts 
Graham Creek; but, to my hidden sorrow, he appeared to 
have grown blind to the beauty he had so loved. His tongue 
ran on and on incessantly we were discussing the English 
poets. It was an exquisite sunset that bathed us in its 
waves of colored light, and upon a green eminence I halted 
Jack and his speech and stretched my arm toward the valley 
to the east, welling to its rosy wall-summits with a purple 
tide of shadow from the mountain on which we stood. To an 
earnest query if the loveliness of the world meant nothing 
to him any more, he stilled for a moment, then let fall very 
sadly: 

"I don t seem to care for anything I m sick, my dear. 
It s Nietzsche s Long Sickness that is mine, I fear. This 
doesn t seem to be what I want. I don t know what I want. 
Oh, I m sorry I am, I am; it hurts me to hurt you so. But 
there s nothing for me to do but go back to the city. I don t 
know what the end of it will be." 

During my late convalescence at Wake Eobin, slowly 
working at the typing and word-counting of his play, Scorn 
of Women, " and brooding not a little over his mental condi 
tion, I had received from Jack several of Nietzsche s books, 
of which he had written me : 

Have been getting hold of some of Nietzsche. I ll turn 
you loose first on his Genealogy of Morals and after that, 
something you ll like Thus Spake Zarathustra. " 

But I liked them all "ate them up," as he said; and 
after digging through "Genealogy of Morals," "The Case 
of Wagner," "The Antichrist," and others, I polished off 
with "Zarathustra," which just happened to fill a need and 
accomplished more than any tonic to clear my own sur 
charged mental atmosphere and set my feet on the road to 
recovery. Here is a favorite bit I quoted to Jack: "At the 
foot of my height I dwell. How high my summits are? 



32 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

How high, no one hath yet told me. But well I know my 
valleys. 

At Jack s side upon the grassy promontory with the 
west-wind in onr hair, I called attention to the wholesome 
philosophy of Zarathustra. In return I was reminded 
by Jack of Nietzsche s ultimate fate. Oh, no he was not 
"playing to the gallery," nor inviting sympathy to his 
spiritual dole. That was not his custom ; he was but frankly, 
soul to soul, letting me know what was true of him at the 
time, and vouchsafing a glimpse at the worst symptom his 
own uncaring attitude concerning it. 

On the eve of parting I played my last stake recurred 
to my Aunt s suggestion, picturing the sweetness of the 
spring and summer he might pass there among the redwoods 
by the brook that once had soothed, and the work we could 
accomplish. But the warning unrest leaped into his eyes 
and voice and he implored: 

"No, no; it doesn t seem that I can. I could not stand 
the quiet, I tell you. I could not. It would make me mad. 

"Very well, then," I gave up, with my best cheer; "the 
thing for you is to do what you feel you must, of course. 
And we won t say any more about it." 

He started, flushed, turned and looked at me. Beaching 
for my hand, in a hushed, changed tone that meant volumes, 
he breathed: 

"Why why you re a woman in a million!" 

That night he slept an unbroken eight hours, un 
precedented repose for Jack at any time, and for many 
weeks he had been working on but three or four hours night 
ly sufficient alone to account for his sorry plight. 

In the morning I offered to pilot him a different way 
from the one he had come. It was up through Nunn s Can 
yon, a lovely defile out of Sonoma Valley to the east. Jack 
appeared pleased ; in fact presented a much brighter aspect 
for his long night of rest, and I hoped vainly that he would 




if. 



1905. "THE SEA WOLF 1 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 33 

have reconsidered the matter of coming to Wake Eobin for 
the season. 

Away we rode together, he and I, one of us with a heavy 
heart, no inkling of which was allowed to pass eyes and lips. 
For I felt this was the last of Jack, that he was slipping 
irrecoverably from us who loved and would have helped 
him; and, what was more grave, slipping away from him 
self. Flesh and blood and brain could not support much 
longer this race he was waging against the sum of his mental 
and physical vitality. 

But a charm was working in him, although I think he 
did not know it. The morning was one of California s most 
blessed, a great broken blue-and-white sky showering pris 
matic jewels and sungold alternately. Even the jaded 
livery hack responded to the brightness as he vied with my 
golden Belle over the blossoming floor of that bird-singing 
vale and up the successive rises of narrow Nunn s Canyon, 
where, on its rustic bridges, we crossed and recrossed the 
serpentine torrent a dozen times. 

As we forged skyward on the ancient road that lies now 
against one bank, now another, the fanning ferns sprinkling 
our faces with rain and dew, wild-flowers nodding in the 
cool flaws of wind, I could see my dear man quicken and 
sparkle as if in spite of himself and the powers of dark 
ness. The response to my own mood in the earth s en 
chantment, which had been so lamentably absent from him 
in the few days gone by, kept mounting and bubbling and 
presently was overflowing in the full measure I knew so 
gloriously of him. Truly, as the summit drew near, I do 
believe he still did not know that the crisis had been reached 
and passed in his Long Sickness for which the mad German 
philosopher had given him a name, and that he had staved 
off despair and death itself for many a splendid, fruitful 
year to come. 

And now, could I credit my ears ? he was talking quite 
naturally with his old engaging enthusiasm, as if pursuing 



34 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

an uninterrupted conversation upon his intention to spend 
the year at Wake Eobin; he would rearrange the interior 
of the tiny shingled cabin under the laurels and oaks, and 
ship up this and that piece of f runiture, and such and such 
books, dwelling upon certain of these he wanted to read to 
me. What fun Manyoungi would have getting settled 
and keeping house ; and could he, Jack, dictate his damned 
correspondence to me? "And say, can you, do you suppose, 
find me a good horse? All the riding IVe ever done was 
what my mare Belle taught me in Manchuria, and I know 
I d love riding if I had another horse as good. IVe got 
$350.00 for the Black Cat story could you get me a horse 
for that? . . . How I wish I d had that mare sent me from 
Korea ! and he launched into reminiscence of her virtues. 

Not by word nor look did I treat his reviving humor as 
if it had not been the same throughout his visit. Now was 
the thing he had come over and out by some sweet miracle, 
I cared not what, from his valley of the shadow. Far be it 
from me to disturb the ferment of the magic. Out of a 
pleasant, sunny silence as we climbed the grade, Jack 
suddenly reined in and laid his hand upon my shoulder. It 
was one of the supreme moments of my life. I met a look 
deeper than thankfulness, and in my heart for ay will abide 
his voice from the mouth that was like a child s surprised 
in emotion: 

"You did it all, my Mate Woman. You ve pulled me 
out. You ve rested me so. And rest was what I needed 
you were right. Something wonderful has happened to me. 
I am all right now. Dear My Woman, you need not be 
afraid for me any more." 

My face must have answered, for I know I said no word. 
Solemnly at the green height of the pass, we clasped hands 
and kissed good-by, solemnly, joyfully, all in one. And 
there was that in his eyes which brought tears to mine. But 
it was the happy rain of a new day, for me, for him, and 
my heart for one ached with the joy of it. Loath to part, 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 35 

Jack broke out: "Why not come on the rest of the way 1 ? 
No, never mind that you re not fixed up the Winships are 
good sports and will welcome you with open arms." 

Long we waved and waved until a descending bend into 
the hinterland buried him from sight, and I turned and re 
traced the royal road we had come together, hardly able to 
contain myself. Years thence, the Winships and Cloudeslev 
told me that another man than the Jack who had left them 
five days, rode in that afternoon on the same dispirited 
steed. But Cloudesley knew; once they were aboard the 
Spray he was told of the miracle. 

Winding up his voyage mid-March in Oakland, Jack 
discovered through Dr. Nicholson that he was suffering 
from a tumor consequent upon an old injury he had thought 
of little moment, and which should be removed as soon as 
he could be put in proper condition. The red-cheeked 
physician had him to bed at the flat, on a diet, and "no 
cigarettes, young man, for a week." The "young man" 
compromised, of course or was it the practitioner who 
compromised? 

I bought a rose-pink lawn frock for his pleasure, and 
went daily to help a very gay patient with his piled up cor 
respondence, dictated from high pillows. After the 
operation, when I called at the hospital, Jack told me he 
was greatly relieved by the report that his tumor had been 
pronounced non-malignant, and the assurance there would 
be no relapse an opinion that time corroborated. "I won 
der," the bedridden philosopher speculated with a half- 
abashed grin, "how much of my intellectual Long Sick 
ness could have been traceable to this damned thing drain 
ing my system?" Then suddenly grave, he rejoined: "No, 
my dear I won t belittle the real diagnosis. I know, and 
you know, that when the sudden healing of that malady 
took place, it was before I even knew I had a physical ail 
ment. . . . My dear, my dear." 

Back at the little flat, he resumed his dictations, and 



36 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

our readings progressed. During these days Jack made 
the better acquaintance of Tennyson, and, for the first 
time, "Idylls of the King,* never ceasing to mourn that 
he had not "grown up with them" and their pure glamour 
of poesy. "And I never knew the gnomes and fairies as 
you did, either, to my loss," he regretted. 

With boyish raptures he looked forward to summer at 
Wake Robin, and once interrupted himself in the middle of 
a sentence to say: "Oh, for the days when you can play, 
play for me!" One warm late afternoon, listening for the 
end of a pause in his dictation, something caused me to raise 
my eyes to Jack s face. His thread of thought lost, he had 
forgotten all else in the world but the wonder of loving : 

"I m quite mad for you, my dear, my dear," he repeated 
in the rare golden voice that returned in shaken moments. 
"Indeed, quite mad with all the old madness of before 
the Long Sickness. And so we poor humans, weak and falli 
ble, and prone to error, condemn ourselves liars, for I would 
not have believed I could be so mad twice!" 

Then and then only, was I quite assured that he was 
saved to himself. But perhaps, when all is said, the best 
influence I had for him was the repose he said I brought a 
repose that otherwise life seemed to have denied. Often I 
was reminded by him of the first story in which he employed 
any portion of his many-sided love for me. It was i l Negore 
the Coward," last of the "Love of Life" collection, and 
will be found at the ending in one of Jack London s masterly 
depictions of death : 

"And as even the memories dimmed and died in the 
darkness that fell upon him, he knew in her arms the ful 
filment of all the ease and rest she had promised him. 
And as black night wrapped around him, his head upon 
her breast, he felt a great peace steal about him, and he 
was aware of the hush of many twilights and the mystery 
of silence." 

I have before me the letter of the editor to whom the 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 



37 




author first submitted this manuscript. And he comments 
with surprise and delight upon the intangible "new touch " 
in Jack s work. 

In the fly-leaf of "Love of Life" stands his inscription, 
of date November 23, 1909 : 

"Dear Mate- Woman: 

"There is within these pages a story you wot of well, wherein, 
ng ago, I told of my love for you, and, more and better, of all 
,t you and your love meant, and mean, to me." 

My friend recovered rapidly so rapidly that the sur- 
eon was horrified to hear from the irrepressible a smiling- 
y-rebellious, smoke-wreathed lips that he intended to 
ide his new horse as soon as ever he got to Glen Ellen, 
hich would be on the 18th of April. The first time he left 
3 house, was to walk around the comer to look over the 
autiful animal which I brought for him to see. For I 
d bought the horse Washoe Ban, blue-blooded Thor- 
ghbred, his veins of fire throbbing through a skin of 
surest chestnut-gold. He was owned by Dr. H. N. Miner of 
Berkeley, and I had ridden him a number of times in the 
>ast. Two hundred and fifty dollars of Jack s Black Cat 
>rize went for Ban, and I rode him from Berkeley to Oak- 
and, thence by ferry to San Francisco, river steamer to 
etaluma, where I slept, and next day sat the incomparable, 
austless creature the twenty-two undulating green miles 




38 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

* * What s yours going to be ? And I : "I haven t thought 
it out yet. What s yours ?" "A cooperative common 
wealth! 7 he grinned. "I d like to speak up with Just lov 
ing, " I laughed. "Great!" shouted Jack, "couldn t be bet 
ter. Tell you what: I ll trade with you." "Done," said I. 
And at the banquet, upon the heels of Anna Strunsky s 
"Happiness is adjustment," my borrowed witticism raised 
the expected applause. "And yours?" Mr. Bamford called 
upon Jack London : 

"Just loving" that wicked person breathed softly, his 
long-lashed eyelids demurely drooped. 

A blank silence was broken by a smothered "Just 
WHAT?" from Mrs. A. A. Dennison, and Jack, raising his 
eyes, looked calmly about the company with a charming 
"What-are-you-going-to-do-about-it" expression as he re 
peated, "Just loving." 

In passing, I want to relate, as nearly as possible in his 
own words, an occurrence that crystallized Jack London in 
certain personal habits more than any other self-argument. 
He put it something this way: 

"You remember Dr. Nicholson! He was a magnificent 
specimen of a man, you will agree? Tall, straight, with 
the beauty of the athlete girl s complexion and all that; 
not a vicious habit drink, nor tobacco not an injurious 
leaning. And he warned me that this and that vice of mine 
would ruin my health in a short time. Well, listen : Only 
a few short months after he talked so seriously to me, he 
died in screaming agony rheumatism of the heart or some 
such horribly excruciating thing. Probably he had exposed 
himself in his practice ; I don t know. But what I do know, 
is, that there are all sorts of bad habits in this world, and 
he must have landed on one of them peculiar to his way 
of life, or it landed on him. Cigarettes, or overwork I tell 
yon it s all one; one s as bad as the other; and I ll bet you 
even money that cigarettes don t kill me!" 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 39 

A man s argument, verily, and one that supersedes 
man s finest logic. 

Washoe Ban and my Belle were housed amicably in a 
little shack-barn on a small property across the road from 
Wake Eobin Lodge. This was the Caroline Kohler Ranch, 
familiarly known as the Fish Ranch because it had once been 
the scene of an ambitious failure in fish-hatchery. Jack had 
painstakingly considered the type of my Australian saddle, 
but decided upon a McClellan tree that we found in San 
Francisco, which had been fitted with a horn. Ultimately, 
however, he adopted my model. And he was almost as good 
as his challenge to Dr. Nicholson, for it was but a few days 
after his arrival on the 18th that he actually mounted and 
took his first lesson in Ban s easy, rocking-horse stride. I 
had yet to learn the man s giant recuperative power, and 
was fully as apprehensive as the man of medicine, but made 
no protest. 

Not long afterward, at a request from Oakland, he 
bought a mare and surrey for his children and their mother. 
The animal later developed an incorrigible balk, and the 
family tiring of this kind of recreation, Jack brought the 
whole outfit up-country, where the mare came eventually to 
do light work and to negotiate the mountain trails under 
saddle. I am minded of the day she inconveniently lay 
down and rolled with her rider, none other than Johannes 
Reimers, in a pestiferous hornet-nest in the grass, as a 
means of escape from the stinging. 

Jack s abrupt relinquishment of the city occasioned 
considerable press comment, with which I was connected, 
but even The Examiner failed to command any statement 
from either of us relating to matrimonial intentions. 
Jack informed the paper s representatives that when 
lie had anything to say in the matter, he would give 
them the " scoop," and with this they had to be content. 



40 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

As for his new choice of residence he said to reporters : "I 
have forsaken the cities forever; winter and summer I 
shall live at Glen Ellen. " 

Would to heaven-upon-earth that every mating pair of 
men and women could know the privilege of the illuminat 
ing sort of experience which was Jack s and mine this six 
months before marriage. In the course of strenuous work 
and play of whatsoever nature, by our wedding date in 
November there was little of which we did not have a fair 
inkling as concerned each other s temperament and idiosyn 
crasies. 

For the most part the study was smooth sailing, though 
at times beset by snags. Once, I shall never forget, it 
came to light that I had been accused by friends of Jack s, 
whom I had believed my own, of disloyalty and unveracity. 
With his invincible courage in seeking and gaging truth, 
he put even his Love impartially on the stand. To be other 
than sanely judicial even in so intimate a situation was 
contrary to his nature and method. True to what he 
called his " damned arithmetic," he undertook to thresh 
out the difficulty. Oh, he staked his love and his proudest 
judgment upon my guiltlessness ; and, having satisfied him 
self, he set his every faculty to demonstrating to my de 
tractors, if he perished in the attempt, that they were 
wrong on every count. All this not so much for personal 
gratification as for the pleasure of confounding them with 
my innocence and his faith. To be sure, he had taken the 
chance in a million that I prove false to his firm idea of 
my integrity. I met his infinitely sincere eyes on that, and 
laid at his disposal all that I had, and was. Amongst other 
expedients at my hand, a little pocket diary routed the most 
important charge that had been preferred. Well, indeed; 
but better still, when Jack, excitedly fishing up his own 
notebook for the same year, found it tallied with mine. 
Other evidence dove-tailed to his entire enlightenment of 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 41 

heart and brain, and I stood unassailable to our mutual 
joy, and the vindication of his " damned arithmetic." 

"If you only knew you can t possibly know " he burst 
out one day near the end of the discussion by mail, "what 
it means to me to have some one fighting with me shoulder 
to shoulder, fighting my own fight, in my own way!" 

When it was all over and certain apologies demanded 
by him had been written me by the unhappy complainants : 

"Let me tell you something," he said. "This matter 
was broached to me sometime ago, before I went on the 
Spray trip. I want to show you a bit of my philosophy, in 
general as regards mankind, in particular as concerns you 
alone and in relation to me : 

"When friends, ostensibly for my own good, came to 
me with a tale about you, I told them, first, that it was a 
pity they should soil their hands in gutter politics; and 
then I earnestly tried to help them know me a little better, 
as a matter of pride if you will, by telling them that even 
were these absurd things true and I would stake my best 
judgment and my soul that they were not they would 
make no possible difference to me. I said to them: I love 
Ghanaian, not for anything she may or may not have done, 
but for what I find her, for what she is to me. I know 
human beings pretty well I make my living through my 
understanding of them and I know Charmian better than 
to credit these calumnies. But the point is: Charmian 
might have murdered her father and mother, and subsisted 
solely upon little roast orphans it is what I know of her, 
now, what she now is, that counts with me. " 

"And really," he once confessed in our married years, 
"I could almost have wished you d had a past like my own, 
or worse, if you d been just the same as when I knew I 
loved you. It would have made you seem almost greater 
to me I mean, if you could have come up through degrad 
ing experiences that did not degrade but left you as I have 
always seen you ! 



42 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Since there was no way of actually manifesting how 
he would have regarded me in this suppositions premise, 
the question remained a moot one. 

He always pleaded not guilty to the passion of jealousy, 
despising and deriding it as a low, bestial trait. With 
an exceptional capacity for tolerance toward almost every 
human weakness save disloyalty, he could not harbor any 
sympathy with that calamity of the ages, sheer animal 
jealousy. " Should you turn from me to another man, if 
I could not make you happy, I d give that man to you on a 
silver platter my dear," he would declare, "and say * Bless 
you, my children/ But I don t believe / could send you 
on a silver platter to a man quite !" 

What better place than this, further to interpret Jack 
London s relation toward the element feminine? I, who 
have known the clasp of his soul, known him at his highest, 
can yet withdraw from that passionate fellowship and re 
gard his masculinity as a whole. Asking my reader to bear 
in mind earlier manifestations of his philosophy and emo 
tions toward the little woman of his adolescence, I shall 
enlarge upon his attitude. 

He was not prone to allow women to interfere with the 
business of life and adventure. He liked to think of himself 
as in Augustus s class that women could not make nor 
mar. In short, he was not a man who lost his head easily. 
"God s own mad lover dying on a kiss" was an appealing 
line to his sense of poesy; but Jack preferred to live, rather 
than die, on that kiss ! Love, in brief, should be a warm 
and normal passion that made for fuller living. At one 
period, after soaking himself in the vast accumulation of 
erotic literature, pro and con, he told me, with a shake of 
his fine shoulders, that he felt himself lucky to have been 
born so rightly-balanced, that no abnormalities of his 
early rough days, nor contact with decadences of super- 
civilization, had touched him to his hurt. The alienists in- 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 43 

terested him intellectually, but he was nicely avert to per 
version of any stripe. 

I had supposed that there would be little of the pro 
prietary in the regard of so broad-minded an individualist. 
One of my most vital surprises was to find that Jack 
was as delightfully medieval as many another lover in 
this world when it came, say, to matters financial. Having 
been myself independent, and believing that he would take 
this into consideration, I looked for him to make no matter 
of a separate bank account, or at least the " allowance " 
loved of wives, that I might not suffer a sense of bondage. 
But no like the bulk of men his was the pleasure of spend 
ing his own money upon the "one small woman." Any 
other arrangement was frowned upon at the suggestion a 
frost seemed to spread over his face. And, seeing that it 
was he, I found the bondage sweet. 

Jack charmed women of all classes ; and while he held 
a reserved opinion as to the intellectuality of the average 
female brain, he could not abide a stupid woman. His 
adventurous mentality had made him pursue women in 
curiosity, and learn them too well for his own good. He 
was of two distinct minds about them, and swung from one 
to the other: their innate goodness and staunchness com 
manded his worship, while their pitiable frailty and small- 
ness wrung his spirit. "Pussy! Pussy! * I can hear him 
purr in the ear of any backbiting among his friends. 
Women, weighed by his biological judgment, represented the 
Eternal Enemy, and he liked the line : 

"Her narrow feet are rooted in the ground/ 

from Arthur Symons s "The Dance of the Daughters of 
Herodias." Yet this very concept, not always voiced with 
out contempt, must have given rise to his pronouncement in 
"John Barleycorn ": "Women are the true conservators 
of the race." 

He has been heard to speak of woman as "the immodest 



44 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

sex." And "Men are far more modest than women!" he 
would step into the heated air of argument, bringing down 
storms upon his unrepentant head. But he considered that 
he had several blazoned names to bear him out, among them 
Jean Paul, who said: "Love increases man s delicacy, and 
lessens woman V and Bernard Shaw: "If women were as 
fastidious as men, morally and physically, there would be 
an end of the race ! 

I must admit that I have seen him play down, not always 
up, to women and their vanity ; but to his credit and theirs, 
he never left them long deceived. And he would not try to 
deceive those who spoke his own language, though he made 
it extremely difficult for them to understand his. 

He had struggled against misogyny, winning out be 
cause he had had experience enough with exceptional women 
of conscience and brain to keep him healthy in viewpoint. 
Besides, in the last extremity, he was a one-woman man, 
glorying in the discovery of this. In my copy of "Before 
Adam," in 1907 he wrote: "I have read Schopenhauer 
and Weininger, and all the German misogynists, and still 
I love you. Such is my chemism our chemism, rather." 
He showed an actual reverence for the woman who "in 
formed" her beauty, or, better, her lack of beauty, who 
waged incessant warfare upon her imperfections, who 
wrought excellently with the material at her hand. 

Jack owned to annoyance that the public denied he could 
write convincingly about women. "And yet," he would 
say, l I know them too well to write too well about them ! 
I d never get past the editor and the censor!" 

Despite that he would often merely appear to take women 
at their own valuation and act as if he gave them credit 
for logic, he was possessed of a fine sense of chivalry. As 
instance: Once, bound to a foreign country, war-corres 
ponding, a girl friend, who had received a similar commis 
sion, informed him that they would be sailing on the same 
boat. Jack was in despair because he knew, from knowledge 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 45 

of her want of practicality, that she would be on his already 
full hands. "What would you have done?" I asked him 
once. He reflected, working those brows that were like a 
sea-bird s wings: "I d have had to marry her before I 
got through with it, I suppose!" "But," I expostulated, 
"but you loved another woman!" "Surely," he rejoined; 
* but what is a man to do ? Her reputation would have been 
shattered so I say, what can a man do in such circum 
stances, but marry the girl!" 

Women have loved Jack London, aye, and died for love 
of him. And I can imagine, had he been situated so that 
it would have been possible, that his chivalry and sweet- 
heartedness could have led him into marrying such, for 
their own happiness. 

Once, I asked him how he had behaved himself toward 
the girls of yesterday, as he passed beyond them into the 
world that he was making his the Lizzie Connollys, the 
Haydees. * I saw them occasionally, he said. * One must 
be kind, you know." 

Little of love had he bought in his life, except in the 
course of laying his curiosity. A passion, with him, must 
be mutual, else worthless. 

And so I became conversant with that "swarm of vibrat 
ing atoms" which men knew as Jack London, the youthful 
literary craftsman who had, as one critic put it, "Lived 
with storms and spaces and sunlight like a kinsman." 
That was it ; the dominant note of him was spaciousness, for 
the inflowing and out-giving of all available knowledge and 
feeling the blood of adventure, physical and mental, 
scorching through life s channels. 

"Visualization is everything for the teacher," he said, 
"and I love to teach, to transmit to others the ideas and 
impressions in my own consciousness." 

It always seemed to me, observing, that while others 
were merely scratching the surface of events, Jack was get- 



46 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

ting underneath them, deeper and deeper into their sig 
nificances. 

Beligion, as the average man knows religion, had no part 
in him. Spiritualism had been the belief in his childhood 
homes, a thing of magic and f earsomeness ; but his expand 
ing perceptions could not countenance that belief. His 
hope for bettering human conditions had filled depths of 
being which might have responded to divine philosophy. 
Again his norm : Somehow, we must ever build upon the 
concrete/ Again his oft-repeated criticism rings in the 
ears of memory: "Will it work will you trust your life 
to it!" 

In a little book of Ernest Untermann s, " Science and 
Eevolution, 9 which Jack gave me to read at that time, I 
come upon a sentence underscored for my benefit: "My 
method of investigation is that of historical materialism. 

It is also to be said that I unlearned much of my 
man thp.t had been told and impressed upon me in the past, 
even by persons who should have known better or who did 
know better and cruelly misrepresented him. In fact, 
Jack forever claimed to nurse a small grievance that I 
should ever have been misled, no matter by whom, from my 
direct early conclusions upon him. I recall, however, in 
the old Piedmont days, that while reserving certain few un 
complimentary opinions, so ready was I to stand up to any 
one who made unjust remarks in his disfavor, that more 
than once I was accused of taking undue interest in the 
young celebrity. 

To the exclusion of all else, I devoted myself to 
mastering the open book that he tried to render himself 
to me. Even the piano was silent except when I played 
for Jack, and the trips to Berkeley with my music roll be 
came less frequent and eventually ceased, I will say to his 
unqualified disapproval. (He never could entertain the 
idea, in the long years of our brimming life, why I could 
not give more time to music, since he too loved it so.) I 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 47 

learned the eloquence of his tongue; the fine arrogance 
of his certitudes; convictions I came to respect for their 
broad wisdom; and I knew, too, and richly, the eloquence 
of his silences in the starry moments that come to those who 
loved as we loved, and, loving, understand mutely. More 
than once, Jack has broken a comprehending pause, or 
even interrupted speech to say to me the dearest and finest 
of all his salutations in my thrilling ears : 

"My kin my very own Twin Brother!" 

One thing, in that earlier association with Jack, was 
almost uncanny: he never seemed to fail of my high ex 
pectation. Tremulous, I all but looked for him to fail of 
making good, to my ideal, in this or that small, fine par 
ticular. But in vain : usually he surpassed the tentative de 
mand I made upon his quality. His own failings he had, to 
be sure; but they were not those ordinarily suspected of 
lesser men. 

The frankness which we continued to practise and exalt, 
made of our mate ship, through thick and thin, a gorgeous 
achievement. 

So I walked softly that spring and summer and fall, 
dedicated to discern with my own soul s best all of him that 
was possible, that I might enlarge and fix this kinship for 
ever and forever. Upon one star I was intent: Never 
must our love and its expression sink into commonplace, 
but it must be kept from out "the ruck of casual and transi 
tory things. " And this was Jack s answer: 

i Commonplaceness shall have no part with us unless I 
myself should become commonplace ; and I think that can 
never be." 

And Jack London learned his woman, playing her 
game as she tried to play his. With his broad sympathies, 
to his own peculiar interests he subjoined mine; and I, 
in return, widened my focus to include hobbies for which 
I had theretofore had no caring, thus creating fresh in 
terests for my own sphere. Jack, for example, loved keenly 



48 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

a good card game. I had little use for cards ; but I applied 
myself, to the end that before long I could play a fair game 
of whist, or cribbage, or pinochle. And when Jack found 
that certain stern methods of instruction distressed and 
stood in the way of quick absorption on my part, in all 
gentleness he went right-about in his lifelong tactics, ex 
hibiting due appreciation of the harmony that had come to 
prevail in his life. He had until then rather prided 
himself upon an ability to shake knowledge into others, and 
I credited him with altering his way to favor me. He 
told me of how he had once, in half an hour, taught a rather 
moronic young girl to tell time by the clock all others hav 
ing failed. l But that s no reason, I laughingly contended, 
"that you can teach me whist by the same rules !" 

With regard to our hard work together, and making 
toward a co-existing love and comradeship, I said: "We 
can t fail, because everything we do is compensatory life 
and living. His reply was: "So try to enjoy the fight 
for its own sake ! 

Critics then as now were prone to dispatch the subject 
of Jack London s personality with words like i primitive, 
1 i uncouth, " brutal. He saw the primitiveness in all life, 
in himself as he saw everything else, and made all things 
come under the empery of his thought and written lan 
guage; but he did not live primitiveness, inasmuch as he 
was delicate, complex, withal simple in the final analyses 
of him. The chastity of the last analysis is like the chastity 
of his art that so often showed the last least perfection of 
chiseling. Kobustness of body and mind offset, almost con 
tradicted, the sensitiveness to impressions, that reaction to 
beauty of every sort though particularly intellectual 
beauty and to sympathy from others in his mood, his 
aims ; and his shrinking from hurt, although only from the 
very, very few. Yet in himself, in his actions, in his work, 
there existed a regnant overtone, a cogency. Again I say: 
there was no paradox in him. Beleaguered ever with the 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 49 

thousand-thousand connotations, factors, in the chaos he 
did not falter, but somehow achieved unity, and a great 
rhythm. He knew himself; and it was a day of rejoicing 
when one departed guest, Everett Lloyd, sent him Wein- 
inger s "Sex and Character, " with the author s definition 
of a genius : "A genius is he who is conscious of most, and 
of that most acutely. 

Jack s writing, his thousand words a day, was done in a 
little "work-room" established in the two-room cottage, 
quite without any of that work-fever often necessary to 
writers. And whensoever art conflicted with substance, he 
invariably maintained : 

1 * I will sacrifice form every time, when it boils down to 
a final question of choice between form and matter. The 
thought is the thing. " 

As some one has said, "He cared little for writing and 
a great deal for what he was writing about. " 

Here is further expression of his unrelenting realism, 
" brass-tack " reality although it seems to me, all having 
been said, that his materialism incarnated his idealism, 
and his idealism consecrated and transfigured his material 
ism: 

"I no more believe in Art for Art s sake theory than I believe 
that a human and humane motive justifies the inartistic telling of 
a story. I believe there are saints in slime as well as saints in 
heaven, and it depends how the slime saints are treated upon 
their environment as to whether they will ever leave the slime or 
not. People find fault with me for my disgusting realism. Life 
is full of disgusting realism. I know men and women as they are 
millions of them yet in the slime state. But I am an evolutionist, 
therefore a broad optimist, hence my love for the human (in the 
slime though he be) comes from my knowing him as he is and 
seeing the divine possibilities ahead of him. That s the whole 
motive of my White Fang. Every atom of organic life is plastic. 
The finest specimens now in existence were once all pulpy infants 
capable of being molded this way or that. Let the pressure be one 
way and we have atavism the reversion to the wild ; the other the 



50 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

domestication, civilization. I have always been impressed with the 
awful plasticity of life and I feel that I can never lay enough stress 
upon the marvelous power and influence of environment. 

"No work in the world is so absorbing to me as the people of 
the world. I care more for personalities than for work or art." 

And he always stuck to it that Herbert Spencer s "Phil 
osophy of Style" helped him more in his youth, than any 
other book save Ouida s "Signa," his initial impetus 
to success in literature. "It taught me," he said, "the 
subtle and manifold operations necessary to transmute 
thought, beauty, sensation and emotion into black symbols 
on white paper; which symbols through the reader s eye, 
were taken into his brain, and by his brain transmuted into 
thought, beauty, sensation and emotion that fairly cor 
responded with mine. Among other things, this taught me 
to know the brain of my reader, in order to select the sym 
bols that would compel his brain to realize my thought, or 
vision, or emotion. Also, I learned that the right symbols 
were the ones that would require the expenditure of the 
minimum of my reader s brain energy, leaving the maxi 
mum of his brain energy to realize and enjoy the content of 
my mind, as conveyed to his mind." But "In my grown 
up years, he surveyed, the writers who have influenced 
me most are Karl Marx in a particular, and Spencer in a 
general, way." 

So never was I able to wring from him any worship of 
art for art s sake, although he strove for art with every 
well-selected instrument of his chosen calling; attained 
art, high art at times; and, being a potential Teacher, he 
could explain the means of it this because he knew so 
exactly how he produced his effects. 

"You re the genius of us two," he flabbergasted me one 
day when I, who never knew how I did the very few things 
I did well, had excelled perhaps in a dive, or a passage in 
music, or the revamping of some sentence that had eluded 
his own skill. "You don t know at all how you do things, 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 51 

you see," he went on, "You just do them. And sometimes 
you fall down and cannot do them again. Now that s genius, 
or of the nature of genius. Take George Sterling; hand 
him a problem of almost any sort, something he had prob 
ably never thought of before, certainly never studied. And 
ten to one in a short time he will have given a masterly 
solution. That s genius big genius. No, there s no genius 
in mine unless it s the Weininger kind. I m too practical 
that s why I m a good teacher. Now you, my dear," in 
candidness he offset some of his praise, "make a, rotten 
teacher ! For instance, that riding lesson to-day, you ride 
as if you had ridden into the world in the first place, but 
I m damned if you can show me how to post on a trot as 
you do!" 

The pleasurable course of our companionship had its 
normal interruptions. I had to become familiar with his 
man humors. But he never moped, and seldom was taci 
turn. And his immoderate smoking was a trial; but after 
once broaching the subject and finding it a tender one with 
him, I dropped all reference to the matter. Although 
he admired frankness, courage, the pettish side that women 
know of the biggest men where their personal comforts are 
in question, prevented my courage from demanding what I 
had confidently hoped for. I should have known better; 
but then, I was learning. At no time did I ever hear him 
advise against smoking ; yet he promised his nephew, Irving 
Shepard, a thousand dollars if he would refrain from 
smoking until he was twenty-one. From our conversation 
on smoking, I gathered that his habit was a rather negligible 
detail in comparison with the thousand and one larger 
issues that occupied his mind. How shall I say? . . . 
that this one habit, a mere habit, which required none of his 
conscious attention, should not be too seriously considered 
by him or others. Also, Jack seemed of a mind that the 
nerve-strain of refraining offset any advantage that might 
be derived from abstinence from cigarettes. 



52 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Long hot afternoons of typewriter dictation under the 
trees sometimes got on our mutual touchy nerves, and we 
became cognizant of still more of each other s caprices. 
Or suddenly, not yet versed in his " brass-tack " reasoning, 
his " arithmetic, I might unwittingly start disputes in 
which I had no chance against the assault of his logic, and 
would struggle with nerves that urged me to weep in sheer 
feminine bafflement, hating myself the more heartily. But 
always before me rose an honest warning with which Jack 
had forearmed us both previously to his coming: 

One thing I want to tell you for your own good and our happi 
ness together. I do not think you are a hysterical woman. But 
don r t ever have hysterics with me. You may think I m hard. 
Maybe I am; but very earliest in my environment, in the very 
molding of the tender thing I was, I came to recoil from hysteria 
all the bestiality of uncontrol and its phenomena. In my man 
hood I have seen tears and hysteria, and false fainting spells, all 
the unlovely futility of that sort of thing that gets a woman less 
than nothing from me. So never, never, I pray, if you love me, 
show yourself hysterical. I promise you I shall be cold, hard, even 
curious. And I will admit, in your case, that I should be hurt as 
well. But remember, always, this coldness is not deliberate of me : 
it s become second nature a warp. I cannot help shrinking from 
tantrums as from unf or gotten blows. . . . Once, when I was about 
three (and this is burned into me with a hot iron), flower in hand 
for a gift, I was brushed aside, kicked over, by an angry, rebellious 
woman striding on her ego-maniacal way. Well, I made an un 
happy mouth and went on my own puzzled, dazed path, dimly 
wounded, non-understanding. And that woman I believed the 
most wonderful woman in the world, for she had said so herself. 
So, this and other hysterical scenes have seared me, and I cannot 
help myself." 

It is a privilege to serve under a great captain ; and I 
sat at his feet and endeavored with all my womanhood to 
come up to his fine, sane standard of companionship, the 
thing he had missed even with men, it would seem. His free 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 53 

confidence and his Grand Passion were my guerdon. And 
there blossomed in him a new and wonderful patience that 
his older friends could hardly credit patience in the little 
things that, handled rightly, or ignored, make for the day s 
harmony. And I hastened to discount his harshness in 
argument, in order to partake of the kernel, realizing that 
when he called a spade a spade, it was a battle against arti 
ficiality, toward soundness of thought and speech upon vital 
truths or vital lies. 

A woman whom he greatly admired had acquired Chris 
tian Science and wanted to argue upon it with Jack. With 
her enunciated premise, I saw Jack s blood begin to rise: 
"Can no-being be?" she shot at him, and sat back waiting 
his verdict. Although they had it hammer and tongs 
for hours, they actually never got beyond the premise. 
Jack refused to consider such a posit his scientific mind 
revolted from it and the two failed to come together on even 
the definition of words, without which there could be no rea 
soning. For days he went about muttering, "Can no- 
being be! Can no-being be! "What do you think of it!" 

But inasmuch as his arguing was impersonal, I think 
the following letter to Blanche Partington, written in 1911, 
after a warm discussion upon Christian Science generally 
and Christ s Temptation in the Wilderness in particular, 
is of value as an illustration : 

" Dear Blanche : 

"Bless you for taking me just as I am, and for not implying 
one iota more to me than what I stand for. 

"I am, as you must have divined ere this, a fool truthseeker 
with a nerve of logic exposed and raw and screaming. Perhaps, it 
is my particular form of insanity. 

"I grope in the mud of common facts. I fight like a wolf and 
a hyena. And I don t mean a bit more, or less, than I say. That 
is, I am wholly concerned with the problem I am wildly discussing 
for the moment. 

"The problem of the language of the tribe/ I fear me, is more 



54 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

profound than you apprehend also more disconcerting than you 
may imagine for the ones who attempt to talk in the lingo of two 
different worlds at one and the same time. 

"Affectionately thine, 

"Jack London/ 

Sometimes, when he had been shockingly literal in lan 
guage of interpretation in one field or another, with blaz 
ing unrepentant eyes he would lash out : 

"Am I right? You don t answer! Am I right? If not, 
show me where I am wrong. I must be shown ! 

The intense effort required to "show" where I thought 
him wrong would keep poor me on tiptoe morning, noon and 
night more especially since I nearly always had to own 
to myself and finally to him that he was right. Slowly I 
commenced to lean upon his judgment, for time and again 
I found he could not fail me. In the beginning I have in 
sheer exhaustion been guilty, though very rarely, of the 
unworthy ruse of giving in when I was not convinced. But 
let him suspect the attempted deceit, and the dawning light 
in his face fell into dark disapprobation. So I came to 
face every issue with him squarely, no matter what the 
price in time, inconvenience, nerves, everything. 

As if in reassurance, he indited in my copy of "War of 
the Classes": 

"Dear Mate: 

"Just to tell you that you are more Mate than ever, and that 
the years to come are bound to see us very happy. 

"Mate." 

This is not a wail oh, quite the opposite. The educa 
tion to me was an inestimable treasure. It insured a teem 
ing intellectual life for all my days on earth. Jack so loved, 
and avowedly, to jar people out of their narrow ruts and 
their preconceived notions about themselves. The insincere 
shrinking of smug souls from the onset of argument 
was sustenance to his missionary mind. He would make 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 55 

them uncomfortable to sleep with their niggling little petty 
viewpoints, he would. I can see the flags of battle in his 
eyes, hark again to the old war-note strike in his fresh 
young voice. And when he had reduced them to powder 
without a spark left in it, he was delicious, irresistible, in 
his expression of contrition : 

" Don t mind my harshness, 7 he would plead. "I al 
ways raise my voice and talk with my hands; I can t help 
it. But don t you see! Don t you see," more often than 
not he would come back. "Tell me, am I right or wrong? 
I beg you to show me where I am wrong. It was his in 
trepid way of expressing the abounding life and thought 
that were in him. On sentry-go at the gates of observation 
and conscience, he was the Apostle of the Truth if ever 
there was one. 

Luckless was the victim who could not benefit by the 
brusk tonic of his argument; and indeed, it was a tonic 
to himself, until the years when he grew too weary with the 
hopelessness of leavening the inert mass of humanity. 
H. G. "Wells s definition of the average mind "A projec 
tion of inherent imperfections" would have suited Jack. 

He was an undisappointing wonder to us all. Despite 
his boredom with small minds, one would see him completely 
possessed, enthralled, by the simple goodness of some 
one in the humblest walk of life. There were in the neigh 
borhood certain characters who had fallen into ways of 
hopelessness; and Jack s manly tenderness, always aug 
mented by an unostentatious hand in his pocket, was a 
speechless pleasure to me, one to emulate for his sweet sake. 
Then there would be his unbounded appreciation of some 
tiny farm where perhaps a by-gone workman of Jack s with 
wife and child, lived happily with one cow, one horse, a 
few chickens. Delight shone all over him if he detected 
an idea of his own which had been incorporated into the 
other s agricultural equipment. 



56 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

One shining example of that manly kindness I shall 
never forget: Once, at sea on a great square-rigger, the 
skipper, probably from illness that rendered him otherwise 
than his usual self, issued an order that all but piled us 
upon a famous " graveyard of ships. " But Jack, jealous 
of a good seaman s reputation, protected the captain s 
blunder from the eyes of the world. 

He cared almost not at all, except as it might affect his 
market, or his authority, for public opinion of himself or 
his books. But I came to find him simply, touchingly sen 
sitive to approval from the exceeding few whom he loved, 
and another exceeding few whose discrimination he revered. 

It is beyond hand of mine to draw with strong and supple 
strokes a convincing picture of this protean man-boy. To 
me he stands out simple enough in all his complexity ; yet I 
can scarcely hope to leave this impression with the reader 
so numberless were the factors in the sum of his person 
ality. The greatest, perhaps, of all ingredients in his make 
up, was the surpassing lovableness that made his very defi 
ciencies appear loveworthy. No matter what the irri 
tability of mental stress from whatsoever source, appeal to 
him with love and desire of understanding, and the world 
was yours could he give it to you. 

Needing immediate cash, Jack delayed beginning "White 
Fang," and the young master of the short story went to 
work spilling upon tales like " Brown Wolf" the warmth 
and color of rural California that had got into his pound 
ing blood; Planchette " the material for this last was 
founded upon an incident that had once come under my 
observation, and I passed it on to him; and presently, re 
quiring the frozen spaces once more for scenes of other 
motifs, he wrote "The Sun Dog Trail," "A Day s Lodg 
ing," "Love of Life," and "The Unexpected" all these to 
be found in "Moon Face" and "Love of Life" collections. 
In a letter to me during absence in the city, answering my 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 57 

query if his description of death were founded upon his 
own late bout with chloroform, he wrote : 

"Yes the death lines of All Gold Canyon* came from 
my experience with the little death in life, the drunken 
dark/ the sweet thick mystery of chloroform/ you re 
member Henley s Hospital Sketches. " 

Meantime "The Sea Wolf" held sway among the "best 
sellers," and was much discussed. Reviewers especially 
girded at the details of Humphrey van Weyden s lovemak- 
ing to Maud. "I don t think it s silly," Jack considered. 
"I think it is very natural and sweet. It s the way I make 
love, and I don t think I am silly!" As for the main motif, 
I find this : 

I want to make a tale so plain that he who runs may read, and 
then there is the underlying psychological motif. In The Sea 
Wolf there was, of course, the superficial descriptive story, while 
the underlying tendency was to prove that the superman cannot be 
successful in modern life. The superman is anti-social in his 
tendencies, and in these days of our complex society and sociology 
he cannot be successful in his hostile aloofness. Hence the unpop 
ularity of the financial supermen like Rockefeller; he acts like an 
irritant in the social body." 

"Tales of the Fish Patrol" was appearing serially in 
Youths Companion, and the critics worried over wha,t they 
dared commit themselves to about "The War of the 
Classes" group of articles. Mostly, of course, it was se 
verely slated for its radicalism, as the young evangel of 
economics had naturally forecast. 

Better than all other accomplishment, the boy was so 
happy, gone the Long Sickness, and now living a new man 
ner of life. It was the first time he had ever "let himself 
go for long," to relax and rest in the assurance of an at 
mosphere of eager comprehension. He came to realize the 
value and practice of the little thing that offsets the strain 



58 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

of the big thing-. To saddle his horse leisurely, to direct 
its lesser intelligence ; to play with Brown Wolf and delve 
into that reticent comrade s brain-processes; to see that 
a hammock was properly swung down the mossy stream- 
side under the maples and alders oh, no, he did not hang 
it himself, but "bossed" while Manyoungi did the work. 
Aside from learning to saddle and harness horses, he was 
in the main faithful in his vow never again to work with 
his hands. The only exception I recall was when he be 
came interested in cultivating French mushrooms. Spawn 
was ordered from the east, and he made the bed down by 
the Graham Creek near where he had once written on "The 
Sea Wolf, planted and tended and reaped, to the astonish 
ment of all who knew him. 

One peculiarity I never could fathom. Despite the small- 
ness of his hands, the taper fingers and delicacy of their 
touch, he was all thumbs when it came to manipulating 
small objects say rigging up fishing gear, buttoning or 
hooking a garment, tending his stylographic ink-pencils. 
He might easily have been the original model of the hu 
morists exasperated husband playing maid to his wife s 
back-buttoned raiment. He did it willingly enough when 
no one else was about, but with much unsaintly verbiage of 
which he gave due heralding. Yet with this clumsiness 
which was a fount of speculation to Jack, he was able to 
pride himself that he never destroyed anything this all 
the more remarkable when taking into account that he 
invariably "talked with his hands." Once, waving his 
arms at table, I saw him sweep a "student" lamp clear, 
which he caught before it could reach the floor ; but he never 
broke a dish. 

Here he gives me proof of my guerdon, written in 
the fly-leaf of "The Game," which came to Glen Ellen in 
June: 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 59 

"Dear Mate: 

"Whose voice and touch are quick to soothe, and who, with a 
firm hand, has helped me to emerge from my long sickness 7 so 
that I might look upon the world again clear-eyed. 

"From your Mate." 

And in "John Barleycorn, " eight years later: 

"Dear Mate-Woman: 

"You know. You have helped me bury the Long Sickness and 
the White Logic. 

"Your Mate-Man, 
"Jack London." 

We rode all over the Valley, and explored the sylvan 
mazes of its embracing ranges and the intricacies of little 
hills with their little vales, that to the north divide the 
valley proper. And we visited the hot-springs resorts 
southerly in the valley, Agua Caliente and Boyes, for the 
tepid swimming tanks. Once or twice we met Captain 
H. E. Boyes and Mrs. Boyes, who asked us into their quaint 
English cottage ; and I remember that the Captain showed 
Jack a letter received from Eudyard Kipling, asking if 
he had run across Jack London around Sonoma, and in 
closing a copy of "Mainly About People " containing a 
flattering criticism of Jack s work. 

We boxed, we swam, we did everything under the sun 
except walk. Jack never walked any distance save when 
there was no other way to progress. I was in entire 
accord with this, as with a thousand and one other mutual 
preferences. I have seen him deprive himself of a pleasure, 
if walking was the means of getting at it. "You re the 
only woman I ever walked far to keep an engagement 
with," he told me; then spoiled the pretty compliment by 
adding mischievously, "but I rode most of the way on my 
bicycle that night, you remember? when I got arrested 
for speeding inside Oakland s city limits!" 



60 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Those who regarded Jack London as physically power 
ful were quite right; but they would be astonished to find 
that his big, shapely muscles of arm and shoulder and leg, 
equal to any emergency whether from momentary call or of 
endurance, were not of the stone-hard variety, even under 
tension. Why, I, "small, tender woman, " as he liked to 
say, could flex a firmer bicep than Jack s, to his eternal 
amusement. But we were as alike as some twins in many 
characteristics particularly our supersensitive flesh. I 
had always been ashamed that in spite of years of horse 
back riding, let me be away from the saddle for a month or 
even less, and the first ride would lame my muscles. To my 
surprise Jack, who became an enthusiastic and excellent 
horseman, showed the identical weakness to the end of his 
life. 

As the weeks warmed into summer, campers flocked to 
Wake Robin, and the swimming pool in Sonoma Creek, be 
low the Fish Ranch s banks, was a place of wild romping 
every afternoon. Jack taught the young folk to swim and 
dive, and to live without breathing during exciting tourna 
ments of under- water tag, or searching for hidden objects. 
Certain shiny white door-knobs and iron rings that were 
never retrieved, must still be implanted in the bottom of 
the almost unrecognizable old pool beneath the willows, 
or else long since have traveled down the valley to the 
Bay. 

There were madder frolics on the sandy beach at the 
northern edge of the bathing hole, and no child so boister 
ous or enthusiastic or resourceful as Jack, "joyously noisy 
with life s arrogance." He trained them to box and to 
wrestle, and all, instructor and pupils, took on their vary 
ing gilds of sun-bronze from the ardent California sky that 
tanned the whole land to warm russet. 

I am suddenly aware of the fact that much as Jack 
shared his afternoons in sport with the vacation troops of 
campers, many as were the health-giving things of flesh 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 61 

and spirit which he taught them, not one learned from him 
in the sport of killing. Nor can I remember him ever 
going out hunting in this period. The only times I saw 
firearms in his hands were at intervals when we all prac 
tised shooting with rifle and revolver at a target tacked 
against the end of an ancient ruined dam across the Sonoma, 
Once, years afterward, in southwesern Oregon, Jack was 
taken bear-hunting in the mountains. When he returned 
to the ranch-house he said : 

"Mate, these good men don t know what to make of me. 
They offered me what the average hunting man would give 
a year of his life to have the chance of getting a bear. 
As it happened, we did not see any bear ; but coming into 
a clearing, there stood the most gorgeous antlered buck 
you ever want to see, on a little ridge, silhouetted against 
the sunset. The men whispered to me that now was my 
chance. They were fairly trembling with anxiety for fear 
I might miss such a perfect shot. And I didn t even raise 
my gun. I just couldn t shoot that great, glorious wild 
thing that had no show against the long arm of my rifle." 

So the children at Wake Robin how little a child will 
miss resurrected the old ditty of two summers gone, about 
"The kindest friend the rabbits ever knew," and loved 
their big-hearted play-friend the more. 

One small Oakland shaver, badly out of sorts with his 
maternal parent, one afternoon began "shying" pebbles at 
all and sundry. After every one else had gone to supper, 
Jack excepted, the little fellow sullenly turned his jaundiced 
attention to the one live mark remaining friend or foe 
it mattered not. Jack admonished him to stop, but instead 
he selected larger missiles and went on firing them. Furi 
ous because Jack laughingly dodged them all, the mite 
jumped up and down in baffled wrath and shrieked: "You 
hoodlum ! You hoodlum ! 

"Now, I wonder," Jack reflected through a cloud of 



62 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

cigarette smoke after supper, 1 1 Where he heard me called a 
hoodlum?" 

Again recurring to Jack s alleged brutality, I smile to 
think how considerate he usually was. In all the rough- 
and-tumble play with the children and often young folk 
of maturer growth, any one who was hurt by him quickly 
smothered the involuntary "ouch" because all knew it 
was unintentional. 

With the girls and women I speak from long ex 
perience. Yes, I have been hurt one does not box for cool 
relaxation, but for the zest of rousing the good red blood 
and setting it free to race through sluggish veins to clear 
lungs and brain and give one a new lease on life. To Jack, 
who loved gameness above all virtues, it was his proudest 
boast that on two or three occasions gore had been drawn 
from one or the other of our respective features; but it 
was of his own undoing he was vainest, because "the Kid- 
woman squared her valiant little shoulders and stood up 
with her eyes wide open and unafraid and delivered and 
took a good straight left." 

The point I am leading to is this: I never was even 
jarred in any part of my feminine anatomy that Jack knew 
was taboo. Allowing that a woman s head, neck and 
shoulders are about all it is permissible for her opponent to 
assail, Jack, with greater surface to cover from her quick 
gloves, worked out and benefi tted immeasurably by a system 
of defense that was my despair and that few men could 
win through. 

About the water hole, not one playfellow but would 
gladly drop the strenuous fun to listen to Jack read aloud ; 
and sometimes at special urging from the charmed ring, he 
would with secret gratification respond to a request for 
some story of his own making. Joshua Slocum s "Voyage 
of the Spray" came in for its turn, and suddenly, one day, 
Jack laid down the book and said to Uncle Eoscoe Eames : 

"If Slocum could do it alone in a thirty-five-foot sloop, 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 63 

with an old tin clock for chronometer, why couldn t we do it 
in a ten-foot-longer boat with better equipment and more 
company!" 

Uncle Eoscoe, devoted yachtsman all his life, and to all 
appearance as devoted as ever at nearly sixty, beamed with 
interest. The two fell with vim to comparing models of 
craft, their audience open-mouthed at the proposition. All 
at once Jack turned to me, and I am sure there was no mis 
giving in his heart : 

" What do you say, Charmian? suppose five years from 
now, after we re married and have built our house some 
where, we start on a voyage around the world in a forty- 
five foot yacht. It ll take a good while to build her, and 
we ve got a lot of other things to do besides." 

"I m with you, every foot of the way," I coincided, 
but why wait five years f Why not begin construction in 
the spring and let the house wait? No use putting up a 
home and running right away and leaving it ! I love a boat, 
you love a boat; let s call the boat our house until we get 
ready to stay a little while in one place. We ll never be 
any younger, nor want to go any more keenly than right 
now. You know," I struck home, "you re always remind 
ing me that we are dying, cell by cell, every minute of our 
lives!" 

"Hoist by my own petard," Jack growled facetiously, 
but inwardly approving. 

This was the inception of the SnarJc voyage idea, most 
wonderful of all our glittering rosary of adventurings. 

Aside from the campers, who did not invade his sanc 
tuary, Jack saw almost no visitors. "One," he told a 
reporter, "was a Eussian Eevolutionist ; the other I 
avoided!" We were swinging in his hammock at the far 
end of "Jack s House" from the road, when we glimpsed 
the latter unannounced and unwelcome figure on the path 
way from my Aunt s home. Undetected, we slipped from 
the hammock, and kept still invisible as we soft-padded 



64 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

around the cottage, always keeping on the opposite side 
from the searching caller, who shortly went away. "I m 
going to put up two signs on my entrances, " Jack giggled. 
4 On the front door will be read: 

NO ADMISSION EXCEPT ON BUSINESS; 
NO BUSINESS TRANSACTED HERE. 

On the back: 

PLEASE DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT 
KNOCKING. PLEASE DO NOT KNOCK. " 

He was as good as his word. I lettered the legends, 
and Manyoungi nailed them up, to the scandal of the neigh 
bors. But this summer was the one and only period of in- 
hospitality of any length in Jack s whole life an instance 
when he really wanted to be let alone a necessity in his 
development at that phase. A few months later, in Bos 
ton, he gave this out to one of the papers : 

"No, I do not care for society much. I haven t the 
time. And besides, society and I disagree as to how I 
should dress, and as to how I should do a great many 
other things. I haven t time for pink teas, nor for pink 
souls. I find that I can get along now less vexatiously 
and more happily without very much personal dealing with 
what I may call general humanity. Yet I am not a hermit ; 
I have simply reduced my visiting list. 

Society always had him at bay about his clothing. 
Once he wrote : "I have been real, and did not cheat reality 
any step of the way, even in so microscopically small, and 
comically ludicrous, a detail as the wearing of a starched 
collar when it would have hurt my neck had I worn it." 
How he would have bidden to his heart that "Shaw of 
Tailors," H. Dennis Bradley of London Town, who wishes, 
amidst other current post-bellum reconstruction, a revolu 
tion in the matter of starch: "If starch is a food," he 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 65 

adjures, "for goodness sake eat it; do not plaster it on 
your bosom and bend it round your neck. The war has 
taught the value of soft silken shirts and collars; and we 
shall not return to the Prussianism and the Militarism of 
the blind, unreasoning boiled shirt without a murmur. " 

Now and again Jack tore himself from his happy valley, 
to lend his voice to the Cause. One of these occasions was 
on May 22, when he lectured at Maple Hall, at Fourteenth 
and Webster Streets, Oakland. In the same month we two 
rode one day to Santa Eosa, to call upon Luther Burbank, 
who was an old friend of my family. On August 22, to 
gether he and I traveled to San Francisco to see the presen 
tation of a one-act play done by Miss Lee Bascom, "The 
Great Interrogation, " based upon Jack s "Story of Jees 
Uck," from Faith of Men collection . 

Jack, as collaborator, was ferreted out from where we 
had made ourselves as small as possible in the Alcazar s 
gallery, and appeared before the curtain with Miss Bascom, 
to whom he gallantly attributed whatever excellence the 
pleasing drama possessed. 

About this time a dramatization of "The Sea Wolf," 
which was unintentionally farcical in the extreme, was put 
on at an Oakland playhouse. Catering to the finicky thea 
ter-goer, the playwright had introduced a chaperone, who 
evidently called for company in the shape of an ingenue. 
This young person was portrayed by no other than the win 
some Ola Humphrey, of Oakland, whom later we were to 
know in Sydney, Australia, as a leading woman, and still in 
the future as the Princess Ibrahim Hassan. 

As in the Alcazar, Jack chose the most inconspicuous 
position from which to view what had been done to theme 
of his. On the present occasion he remained undiscov 
ered, and was able to shed his tears of mirth on either 
shoulder he desired, Sterling s or mine, when the shrieking 
melodrama became too much for his control. "0 Gawd! 
Gawd!" he mimicked the Ghost s cook, Muggridge; and 



66 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"If they should hunt me out and get me on the stage, what 
could I say but Gawd! Gawd! " The unfortunate 
Van Weyden, if I remember aright, chose to wear, from 
rise to fall of curtain, a well polished pair of tan shoes for 
which the rigors of the salt sea had no terrors. 

On September 9, Jack went to Colma, as one of a con 
stellation of The Examiner s star writers, to do the 
Britt-Nelson prizefight. It was in the course of this write- 
up he coined another catch-phrase that went into the lan 
guage of the country, as "the call of the wild," "the white 
silence, " and even "the game" had become almost house 
hold words. This time it was "the abysmal brute," to 
which certain pugilists took exception until they came to 
realize the author s meaning the life that refuses to quit 
and lie down even after consciousness has ceased. 

"By * abysmal brute, " Jack would extemporize, "I 
mean the basic life deeper than the brain and the intellect in 
living things. Intelligence rests upon it; and when intel 
ligence goes, it still remains. The abysmal brute life," he 
illustrated, "that causes the heart of a gutted dog-fish to 
beat in one s hand you ve seen them do that when we 
were fishing off the Key Route pier," I was reminded. 
"Or the beak of a slain turtle to close and bite off a man s 
finger ; it s the life force that makes a fighter go on fighting 
even though he is past all direction from his intelligence. 
So enamored was he of his own phrase that eight years 
afterward he used it for title of another prize-fight novel. 

In addition to his regular work, Jack would find time 
to review a book, as for instance "The Long Day," which 
critique occupied a page in an October Examiner; or to 
contribute an article, like "The Walking Delegate," in the 
May 28th issue of the same paper. 

It was in August of this year that he sent to Collier s 
Weekly the article entitled "Revolution," based upon the 
lecture. He had already sent it to The Cosmopolitan, 
but owing to some disagreement upon the price had with- 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 67 

drawn the manuscript. This article was published in Lon 
don in the Contemporary Review. Jack s letter to the 
Editor of Collier s I give below: 

* * I am sending you herewith an article that may strike you as a 
regular firebrand ; but I ask you to carry into the reading of it one 
idea, namely, that the whole article is a statement of fact. There 
is no theory about it. I state the facts and the figures of the revo 
lution. I state how many revolutionists there are, why they are 
revolutionists, and their views all of which are facts. 

"It seems to me that this article would be especially apposite 
just now, following upon the wholesale exposures of graft and 
rottenness in the high places, which have of late filled all the maga 
zines and newspapers. It is the other side of the shield. It is 
another way of looking at the question, and half a million of voters 
are looking at it in this way in the United States. And it might 
be interesting to the capitalists to see thus depicted this great 
antagonistic force which they, by their present graft and rotten 
ness, are not doing anything to fend off. But rather are they 
encouraging the growth of this antagonistic force by their own 
culpable mismanagement of society. 

"Of course, should you find it in your way to publish this 
article, it would be very well to preface it with an editorial note 
to the effect that it is a statement of the situation by an avowed 
and militant socialist; and of course you would be quite welcome 
to criticize the whole article in any way you saw fit." 

All those bright, vitalizing months, there was growing 
in his bosom a seed sown two years earlier when he had 
come to love Sonoma Valley. "The Valley of the Moon," 
he called it, having nnearthed the fact that Sonoma stood 
for "moon" in the early Indian tongue of the locality. I 
have since heard Sonoma defined as "seven moons," be 
cause, driving in the crescent of the valley, one may see 
seven risings of the orb behind the waving contours of the 
summits. 

His eyes roved over the forested mountainside, and 
yearning heightened to make some part of it his own, for 



68 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

home when we should be man and wife his very own while 
life should last. But it appeared not to be for sale. One 
prospect above all others filled our eyes whenever we rode 
side by side up a certain old private road three inexpress 
ibly romantic knolls crowned with fir and redwood, rosy- 
limbed, blossom-perfumed madrono, and scented tapers of 
the buckeye wooded islets rising out of a deep, tossing sea 
of tree-tops. And one day a neighbor said : 

"Why, those knolls there belong to a section of over a 
hundred acres owned by Robert P. Hill down at Eldridge, 
yonder, the next station below Glen Ellen. Go and see him, 
and I bet he ll sell it to you. I m sure I heard it could be 
bought. " 

In no time at all, Jack was possessor of one hundred 
and twenty-nine acres of the most idyllic spot we were ever 
to behold later to be glorified in his novel i Burning Day 
light." Its irregular diamond-shape was bounded by the 
magnificently wooded gorge of old Asbury Creek to the 
southeast, and the whole sweet domain was wilderness of 
every sort of Californian timber and shrubbery, save some 
forty acres of cleared land that had once yielded wine- 
grapes and now waved with grain. 

Jack paid $7000.00 for the property, which turned out 
to be a portion of the original grant of some two hundred 
square miles from the Mexican Government to General 
Vallejo. Mr. and Mrs. Hill declare to this day that they 
fear Jack could probably have beaten their figure if he had 
stood out. But there is another aspect to the happening. 
Jack, alas, had no chance; he accused me of precluding 
any such move on his side, by any unthinking ravings over 
the land in question. And I meekly refrained from pro 
testing when he excluded me from all business sessions 
thereafter. 

Mrs. Hill, who was President of the California Wo 
man s Federation of Clubs, amongst other engaging cus 
toms displayed the one of welcoming a guest with both her 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 69 

hands clasping the other s one. And after a little acquain 
tance with our new friends, I noticed that Jack adopted 
the gracious habit with his own guests quite unknowingly, 
I am sure, for he was not addicted to copying manners. 
This reminds me that when I first met Jack London, it was 
with surprise I noted that he shook hands rather limply. 
It must have been a reminiscence of childhood diffidence; 
it could not be coldness, for he radiated warmth and sin 
cerity from head to foot. Later, I had dared tell him of my 
be-puzzlement, and found that he had no idea his clasp was 
not a hearty one. He set about remedying the lack of firm 
ness. Looking through his 1905 clipping book, I come upon 
this from an interviewer in an Iowa town where Jack had 
lectured : 

"The words and hearty clasp were with boy-like frank 
ness, a boy s greeting to another boy." 

We called it our Land of Dear Delight, but, to the 
world, simply The Eanch. What Jack thought of it, and 
his enthusiasm, taking the place of his old unrest, in all 
the simplest details of his new farm, is indicated in his 
letters to George Sterling and Cloudesley Johns. To 
George he wrote : 

I have long since given over my automobile scheme ; it was too 
damned expensive on the face of it, and I have long since decided 
to buy land in the woods, somewhere, and build. . . . For over a 
year, I have been planning this home proposition, and now I am 
just beginning to see my way clear to it. I am really going to 
throw out an anchor so big and so heavy that all hell could never 
get it up again. In fact, it s going to be a prodigious, ponderous 

sort of an anchor/ 

i 

What the neighbors thought of the transaction, he words 
in "The Iron Heel :" 

1 Once a writer friend of mine had owned the ranch. . . . He 
had bought the ranch for beauty, and paid a round price for it, 
much to the disgust of the local farmers. He used to tell with 



70 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

great glee how they were wont to shake their heads mournfully at 
the price, to accomplish ponderously a bit of mental arithmetic, 
and then to say, But you can t make six per cent on it. 

"Jack London, 

"Glen Ellen, 
"Sonoma Co., Cal., 

"June 7, 1905. 
"Dear Cloudesley: 

"Yea, verily, gorgeous plans. I have just blown myself for 
129 acres of land. I 11 not attempt to describe. It s beyond me. 

"Also, I have just bought several horses, a colt, a cow, a calf, 
a plow, harrow, wagon, buggy, etc., to say nothing of chickens, 
turkeys, pigeons, etc., etc. All this last part was unexpected, and 
has left me flat broke. ... I ve taken all the money I could get 
from Macmillan to pay for the land, and haven t any now even to 
build a barn with, much less a house. 

"Haven t started * White Fang yet. Am writing some short 
stories in order to get hold of some immediate cash." 

And this fragment from his next, dated July 6, 1905: 

"As regards the ranch I figure the vegetables, firewood, milk, 
eg-gs, chickens, etc., procured by the hired man will come pretty 
close to paying the hired man s wages. The 40 acres of cleared 
ground (hay) I can always have farmed on shares. The other 
fellow furnishes all the work, seed, and care, while I furnish the 
land. He gets % of crop of hay. I get % about 25 or 30 tons 
for my share. 

"I m going swimming. I take a book along, and read and 
swim, turn and turn about, until 6 P.M. It is now 1 P.M. 

"Wolf." 

"August 30, 1905. 
"Dear Cloudesley: 

". . . By the way, Collier s has accepted * Revolution. What 
d ye think o that? Robert J. Collier wrote the letter of acceptance 
himself, saying : That he was going to publish my fire-brand as a 
piece of literature, even if it did lose him several hundred thousand 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 71 

of his capitalistic subscribers. Also, wanting to know how much 
I asked for the article, he said, * Don t penalize me too heavily 
for my nerve in publishing it. 

"I am racing along with White Fang. Have got about 45,000 
words done, and hope to finish it inside the next four weeks, when 
I pull East on the lecturing-trip. 

"Have you read Jimmy Britt s review of The Game ? It is 
all right ! 

"Say, read The Divine Fire, by May Sinclair, and then get 
down in the dust at her feet. She is a master. 

Of all books of fiction we read at this period, "The 
Divine Fire" and Eden Phillpotts s "The Secret Woman" 
made the deepest mark upon us both. 

When laying foundation for a novel, Jack would isolate 
himself for the forenoon, in a hilly manzanita grove adjoin 
ing the Wake Eobin acres the "wine-wooded manzanita" 
he named it in " All Gold Canyon. But for all short work 
he made his notes at a table in the redwood-paneled room 
where he worked and slept. He liked music while he com 
posed, and was never so content as when open windows 
brought my practising to him from the other house. 

One day, returning from San Francisco, he said: 
"We ve got to have a phonograph!" "Awful!" I coun 
tered. You don t know what you re saying, he reproved 
in sparkling tone. "Pve been listening for hours to the 
most wonderful records, and there s a man down in Glen 
Ellen who has an agency, and we re to come down to-night 
and hear the thing. No don t say a word you ll go per 
fectly crazy over it!" 

I did; and a Victor came to stay at Wake Eobin, sub 
sequently sailing with us to the South Seas with one hundred 
and fifty records presented by the manufacturers. This 
music Jack also liked while he worked, so long as he could 
not distinguish the words of songs, which would distract his 
attention from the words he was juggling with. 

At that time he cared far more for orchestral than for 



72 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

vocal harmonies, especially the Wagnerian operas. In the 
latter, as well as in qnite a repertory of other operatic 
work, he had been well coached by his friend Blanche Part- 
ington, musical and dramatic critic on the San Francisco 
Call for seven years, who had taken him with her to many 
performances. I, on the other hand, favored the voice 
records above the instrumental. After several years, as 
one manifestation of his searching into the human, Jack 
leaned more and more to the voice, until he seldom put on 
the orchestral disks. 

"Sept. 4, 1905. 
"Dear Cloudesley: 

* So you re going to begin writing for money ! Forgive me for 
rubbing it in. YouVe changed since several years ago when you 
place ART first and dollars afterward. You didn t quite sym 
pathize with me in those days. 

"After all, there s nothing like life; and I, for one, have always 
stood, and shall always stand, for the exalting of the life that is 
in me over Art, or any other extraneous thing. 

"Wolf." 

George Serling had affectionately dubbed him "The 
Wolf, " or " The Fierce Wolf, " or The Shaggy Wolf. In 
the last month of Jack London s life, he gave me an exqui 
site tiny wrist-watch. "And what shall I have engraved on 
it!" I asked. "Oh, Mate from Wolf/ I guess, " he re 
plied. And I: "The same as when we exchanged engage 
ment watches !" "Why, yes, if you don t mind," he ad 
mitted. "I have sometimes wished you would call me 
* Wolf more of ten." 

"I wish I had called you Wolf, then," I said remorse 
fully, "since you would have liked it. But it seemed pre 
ciously George s name for you, and that is why I seldom 
used it. The wee Swiss timepiece was lettered according 
ly, this after his light had gone out forever, for I had not 
been again in town. 

Jack was generous about helping his friends out in 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 73 

time of need, but the following, to one of them in October, 
shows how closely he was running, and again mentions his 
intended lecturing trip : 

"To buy the ranch and build barn, I had to get heavy advances 
from my publishers. I had already overdrawn so heavily, that 
they asked me, and in common decency I agreed, to pay interest 
on these new advances made. 

"At present moment my check book shows $207.83 to my credit 
at the bank. It is the first of the month and I have no end of bills 
awaiting me, prominent among which are: (Here follows list of 
payments to his own mother, his children s mother, his rent, tools 
for the Ranch, and some smaller bills.) 

"Now, I have to pay my own expenses East. Lecture Bureau 
afterward reimburses me. I haven t a cent coming to me from 
any source, and must borrow this money in Oakland. Also, in 
November I must meet between seven and eight hundred dollars 
insurance. My mother wants me to increase her monthly allow 
ance. So does B. I have just paid hospital bills of over $100.00 
for one of my sisters. Another member of the family, whom I can 
not refuse, has warned me that as soon as I arrive in Oakland he 
wants to make a proposition to me. I know what that means. 

"And I have promised $30.00 to pay printing of appeal to 
Supreme Court of Joe King, a poor devil in Co. Jail with 50 yrs. 
sentence hanging over him and who is being railroaded. 

"And so on, and so on, and so on Oh, and a bill for over $45.00 
to the hay press. So you see that I am not only sailing close to the 
wind but that I am dead into it and my sails flapping. 

"Fm always in debt," Jack said to Ashton Stevens, 
who interviewed him for The Examiner. "Look at that 
hand! See where the light comes through the fingers? 
That hand leaks. It was explained to me by the Korean boy 
that took me through Manchuria. All I d like to do is to be 
able to get enough money ahead to loaf for a year that s 
my little dream. " 

"And buy some dress shirts and evening clothes? * Mr. 
Stevens slyly baited. 

1 1 Oh, I have them, Jack grinned ; I ve got them. But 



74 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

I m willing to put em on only when I can t get in without 
them. I loathe the things, but if the worst comes to the 
worst I ve got em; I insist I ve got em." 

"Then your dream of rest realized wouldn t be all 
purple teas?" 

"Indeed it would not. At Glen Ellen I ve got a farm, 
and I m going to build a house and a lot of things; it ll 
take me about two years to make improvements and settle 
down. And then I m going to build a forty-foot sea-going 
yacht and with two or three others cruise around the 
world. We 11 be our own crew and cook and everything else, 
and the first port will be twenty-one hundred miles from 
San Francisco Honolulu. Thence on and on. Maybe I ll 
realize on that trip some of my dream of rest. 

In the months before he came to Glen Ellen that year, 
he would ask musical friends for The Garden of Sleep, a 
song by Clement Scott and Isidore de Lara, and for "Sing 
Me to Sleep," by Clifton Bingham and Edwin Green. As 
time went on, he called upon me less and less for these rest 
ful melodies. When they had at length served his need, 
in characteristic manner of not looking backward, he was 
through with the songs. 

Concerning the world voyage, he wrote to Anna Strun- 
sky: 

"You remember the Spray in which you sailed with me one 
day? Well, this new boat will be six or seven feet longer than the 
Spray, and I am going to sail her around the world, writing as I go. 
Expect to be gone on trip four or five years around the Horn, 
Cape of Good Hope, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Aus 
tralia, and everywhere else. 

Jack s "dream of rest" had more than once, in my hear 
ing, been associated with death itself. Never was he so 
happy, he who at the same time so exalted life, that he 
could not descant upon the repose of death. One of my 
earliest memories of him is such a remark as this : 



SUMMER AT GLEN ELLEN 75 

"To me the idea of death is sweet. Think of it to lie 
down and go into the dark out of all the struggle and pain 
of living to go to sleep and rest, always to be resting. 
Oh, I do not want to die now I d fight like the devil to 
keep alive. . . . But when I come to die, it will be smiling 
at death, I promise you." 

Early in our married life I entreated : 

u Don t, don t plan so many great things that you will 
always have to slave for the means. Make your money and 
loaf for a while. But in all the years we were together, 
the day of living rest fled before him. His vast plannings 
widened as widened his fund of knowledge there was no 
horizon at any point of his compass. So I came to give up, 
and cooperate with him wherever his ambition chose to 
express itself. 

Yes, Jack was always in debt ; but never to the point of 
failing to see his way out. Which, after all, is merely good 
business. He was aware of his augmenting earning power ; 
but timid ones lacking his vision refrained from depending 
upon him because their prognosis was that he would fail 
through poor judgment. And yet, after his death, as many 
as depended upon him in lifetime are still cared for by his 
foresight even more than those. Any one who gave voice 
to the opinion that Jack London was a poor business man 
was a source of irritation to him, such was his realization 
his own efficiency. 



CHAPTER XXVH 

SECOND MAEKIAGE ; LECTURE TRIP ; BOSTON 
1905-1906 

II is of record, in the files of every American newspaper, 
that the final decree in the Jack London divorce was 
granted on November 18, 1905 this after a separation of 
two and a half years between the parties thereto. Jack 
had once said to me : 

" If a divorce had not been allowed me, I would not have 
given you up that would be unthinkable. We would have 
gone somewhere, if you would, and I think you would on 
the other side of the world, and dignifiedly lived out our 
lives, on the square, like a true married pair. 

But this was thought of by him only as an extreme. 
For, as in most considerations, Jack supported law, 
holding that society rested upon monogamy; though that 
all-round mind of his as firmly stood behind his biology 
with regard to man s polygamous place in the animal king 
dom. "And anyway, our love and mateship is of the stamp 
that bonds cannot tire, thank God, he would rejoin. Then, 
in a note : "We will respect the world and the way of the 
world. " 

Once, out of a spell of despondency before he came to 
Glen Ellen, Jack wrote me a letter which I give below, so 
that all may have access to the solid foundation upon which 
reason stood, upholding romantic love : 

1 Dear, dear Woman : 

"Somehow, you have been very much in my thoughts these last 
few days, and in inexpressible ways you are dearer to me. 

76 



SECOND MAEEIAGE; LECTURE TRIP 77 

"I will not speak of the mind-qualities, the soul-qualities for 
somehow, in these, in ways beyond my speech and thought, you 
have suddenly loomed colossal in comparison with the ruck of 
women. 

"Oh, believe me, in these last several days I have been doing 
some thinking, some comparing and I have been made aware, not 
merely of pride, and greater pride, in you, but of delight in you. 
Dear, dear Woman, Wednesday night, how I delighted in you, for 
instance ! Of course, I liked the look of you ; but outside of that, 
I delighted and not so much in what you said or did, as in what 
you did not say or do. You, just you with strength and surety, 
and power to hold me to you for that old peace and rest which you 
have always had for me. I am more confident now than a year ago 
that we shall be happy together. I am rationally confident. 

"God! and you have grit! I love you for it. You are my 
comrade for it. And I mean the grit of the soul. 

"And the lesser grit you have it, too. I think of you swim 
ming, and jumping, and diving, and my arms go out to the dear, 
sensitive, gritty body of yours, as my arms go out to the gritty soul 
of you within that body. 

" My first thought in the morning is of you, my last thought at 
night. My arms are about you, and I kiss you with my soul. 

"Your Own Man. " 

But he was also the mad lover, gloriously, boundlessly 
so. As witness this, written three weeks before our wed 
ding, after he had gone East : 

"Blessed Mate: 

"I do not think that I have yet parted with you, so full am I, 
heart and soul, with the vision of you. 

"Standards are nothing, judgments are nothing; I need not 
reason about you except in the simplest way, and that way is that 
you mean everything to me and are more to me than any woman 
I have ever known. 

"Your own man, 

"The Wolf." 

Editors have repeatedly approached me on the subject 
of publishing Jack London s letters to myself. All argu- 



78 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

ments were barren of result, save one: that Jack London s 
love nature is little known or reckoned with in the aver 
age estimate of him ; or, worse, misunderstood. This slant 
of argument of course had not been unthought of by ine. 
And because no just study of the man can otherwise be 
made, I present, throughout this book, the letters I have 
chosen from the uncounted ones in my possession. Below 
I quote the very first in which he mentions his regard, some 
thing that had theretofore been undreamed of by me. We 
had been discussing something about my own make-up 
which he said had always eluded him and I had gathered 
that it was not especially complimentary. My curiosity 
being aroused, I wrote and asked him if he could not defi 
nitely word his feeling. Here is the reply : 

I see that what I spoke of worries you. It would worry me 
equally, I am sure, did it come from a friend. But the very point 
of it was that I did not know what it was. If I had, I should not 
have brought it up. If you will recollect, it was one of the lesser 
puzzles of your make-up to which I merely casually referred. 
None of your guesses hits it : I have seen and measured your in 
ordinate fondness for pretty things and for the correct thing. 
These are logical and consistent in you, and the fact that they 
are arouses nothing but satisfaction in me. I referred to something 
I did not know, something I felt as I felt the vision of you crying 
in the grass. Perhaps I used the word conventionality for lack 
of adequate expression, for the same reason that I spoke from lack 
of comprehension. A something felt of something no more than 
potential in you and of which I had seen no evidences. If you fail 
to follow me I am indeed lost, for I have strained to give definite 
utterance to a thing remote and obscure. 

"You speak of frankness. I passionately desire it, but have 
come to shrink from the pain of intimacies which bring the greater 
frankness forth. Superficial frankness is comparatively easy, bu 
one must pay for stripping off the dry husks of clothing, the self- 
conventions which masque the soul, and for standing out naked in> 
the eyes of one who sees. I have paid, and like a child who has 
been burned by fire, I shrink from paying too often. You surely 



SECOND MAEBIAGE; LECTURE TRIP 79 

have known such franknesses and the penalties you paid. When 
I found heart s desire speaking clamorously to you, I turned my 
eyes away and strove to go on with my superficial self, talking, I 
know not what. And I did it consciously partly so, perhaps 
and I did it automatically, instinctively. Memories of old pains, 
incoherent hurts, a welter of remembrances, compelled me to close 
the mouth whereby my inner self was shouting at you a summons 
bound to give hurt and to bring hurt in return. 

"I wonder if I make you understand. You see, in the objective 
facts of my life I have always been frankness personified. That 
I tramped or begged or festered in jail or slum meant nothing by 
the telling. But over the lips of my inner self I had long since put 
a seal a seal indeed rarely broken, in moments when one caught 
fleeting glimpses of the hermit who lived inside. How can I begin 
to explain? . . . My child life was uncongenial. There was little 
responsive around me. I learned reticence, an inner reticence. 
I went into the world early, and I adventured among different 
classes. A newcomer in any class, I naturally was reticent con 
cerning my real self, which such a class could not understand, 
while I was superficially loquacious in order to make my entry 
into such a class popular and successful. And so it went, from 
class to class, from clique to clique. No intimacies, a continuous 
hardening, a superficial loquacity so clever, and an inner reticence 
so secret, that the one was taken for the real, and the other never 
dreamed of. 

"Ask people who know me to-day, what I am. A rough, 
savage fellow, they will say, who likes prizefights and brutalities, 
who has a clever turn of pen, a charlatan s smattering of art, and 
the inevitable deficiencies of the untrained, unrefined, self-made 
man which he strives with a fair measure of success to hide beneath 
an attitude of roughness and unconventionality. Do I endeavor 
to unconvince them? It s so much easier to leave their convictions 
alone. 

"And now the threads of my tangled discourse draw together. 
I have experienced the greater frankness, several times, under 
provocation, with a man or two, and a woman or two, and the oc 
casions have been great joy-givers, as they have also been great 
sorrow-givers. I do not wish they had never happened, but I re 
coil unconsciously from their happening again. It is so much easier 



80 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

to live placidly and complacently. Of course, to live placidly and 
complacently is not to live at all, but still, between prizefights and 
kites and one thing and another I manage to fool my inner self 
pretty well. Poor inner self! I wonder if it will atrophy, dry 
up some day and blow away. 

" This is the first serious talk I have had about myself for a 
weary while. I hope my flood of speech has not bored you. 

"When may I see you?" 

When, so shortly afterward, we had discovered, almost 
as with love-at-first-sight, the great glory that was rising 
in us, this was his next message a burst of sunshine after 
dark days : 

1 1 1 am dumb this morning. I do not think. I do not think at all. 
Talk of analysis! I should have to get a year or so between me 
and the last of you in order to generalize, in order to answer the 
everlasting query: What is it all aloutf 

"What IS it all about? I do not know. I know only that I 
am off my feet and drifting with the tide; drifting and singing, 
but it is a flood tide and the song a psean. 

"Younger? I am twenty years younger. So young that I am 
too lazy to work. I am lying here in the hammock thinking dreamily 
of you. No, I am not lazy at all. I am doing no work because I 
am incapable of doing it. Wherever I look I see you. I close 
my eyes and hear you, and still see you. I try to gather my 
thoughts together and I think You. But it is not a thought 
it is a picture of you, a vision a something as objective and real 
as when I used to see you crying in the grass. 

"An hour has passed since I wrote the last word. I am still 
in the hammock, and what I have written is the history of that 
hour, as it is of all the other hours. 

1 Well, they are good hours. Though I never saw you again, the 
memory of them would be sweet. To have lived them, here in the 
hammock, is to have lived well and high. 

And again: "This I know that you will come to me, some 
time, some where. It is inevitable. The hour is already too 
big to become anything less than the biggest. We cannot fail, 
diminish, fall back into night with the dawn thus in our eyes. 




190G. JACK LONDON AND ALEXANDER IRVINE AT YALE UNIVERSITY 



SECOND MARRIAGE; LECTURE TRIP 81 

For it is no false dawn. Our eyes are dazzled with it, and our souls. 
We know not what, and yet WE KNOW. The life that is in us 
knows. It is crying out, and we cannot close our ears to its cry. 
It is reaching out yearning arms that know the truth and secret 
of living as we, apart from it and striving to reason it, do not 
know. my dear, we give and live, we withhold and die. 

"You may laugh and protest, but you ARE big. A thousand 
things prove it to me to me who never needed the proof. I knew 
knew from the first. I, who have felt and sounded my way through 
life like some mariner on a fog-bound coast, have never felt nor 
sounded when with you. I knew you from the first, knew you and 
accepted you. This is why, when the time for speech came, there 
was no need for speech. 

"I do not know if I shall see you to-night, and, such is the 
certitude of our tangled destiny, I hardly think I care. Did I 
doubt, it would be different. But it must be so, I know, not 
sooner or later, but soon. It is the will of your life and mine that 
it shall be so, and we are not so weak that we cannot keep faith with 
the truth and the best that is in us. 

"You are more kin to me than any woman I have ever known. " 

The next letter gives a deathless picturing of Jack Lon 
don s loneliness of old and his new-found happiness : 

* Do you know a happy moment you have given me a wonder 
ful moment ? When you sat looking into my eyes and repeated to 
me : * You are more kin to me than any woman I have ever known. 
That those words should have shaped to you the one really great 
thought in the letter, the thought most vital to me and to my love 
for you, stamped our kinship irrevocably. Surely we are very One, 
you and I ! 

"Shall I tell you a dream of my boyhood and manhood? a 
dream which in my rashness I thought had dreamed itself out and 
beyond all chance of realization? Let me. I do not know, now, 
what my other loves have been, how much of depth and worth 
there were in them; but this I know, and knew then, and know 
always that there was a something greater I yearned after, a some 
thing that beat upon my imagination with a great glowing light 
and made those woman-loves wan things and pale, oh so pitiably 
wan and pale ! 



82 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"I have held a woman in my arms who loved me and whom I 
loved, and in that love-moment have told her, as one will tell a dead 
dream, of this great thing I had looked for, looked for vainly, and 
the quest of which I had at last abandoned. And the woman grew 
passionately angry, and I should have wondered had I not known 
how pale and weak it made all of her that she could ever give me. 

"For I had dreamed of the great Man-Comrade. I, who have 
been comrades with many men, and a good comrade I believe, have 
never had a comrade at all, and in the deeper significance of it 
have never been able to be the comrade I was capable of being. 
Always it was here this one failed, and there that one failed until 
all failed. And then, one day, like Omar, clear-eyed I looked, and 
laughed, and sought no more. It was plain that it was not possible. 
I could never hope to find that comradeship, that closeness, that 
sympathy and understanding, whereby the man and I might merge 
and become one in understanding and sympathy for love and life. 

"How can I say what I mean? This man should be so much 
one with me that we could never misunderstand. He should love 
the flesh, as he should the spirit, honoring and loving each and 
giving each its due. There should be in him both fact and fancy. 
He should be practical insofar as the mechanics of life were con 
cerned; and fanciful, imaginative, sentimental where the thrill of 
life was concerned. He should be delicate and tender, brave and 
game ; sensitive as he pleased in the soul of him, and in the body 
of him unfearing and unwitting of pain. He should be warm with 
the glow of great adventure, unafraid of the harshnesses of life and 
its evils, and knowing all its harshness and evil. 

"Do you see, my dear one, the man I am trying to picture 
for you! an all-around man, who could weep over a strain of 
music, a bit of verse, and who could grapple with the fiercest life 
and fight good-naturedly or like a fiend as the case might be. ... 
the man who could live at the same time in the realms of fancy 
and of fact ; who, knowing the frailties and weaknesses of life, could 
look with frank fearless eyes upon them ; a man who had no small- 
nesses or meannesses, who could sin greatly, perhaps, but who 
could as greatly forgive. 

"I spend myself in verbiage, trying to express in a moment 
or two, on a sheet of paper, what I have been years and years a- 
dreaming. 



SECOND MAEEIAGE; LECTURE TRIP 83 

"As I say, I abandoned the dream of the great Man-Comrade 
who was to live Youth with me, perpetual Youth with me, down to 
the grave. And then You came, after your trip abroad, into my 
life. Before that I had met you quite perfunctorily, a couple of 
times, and liked you. But after that we met in fellowship, though 
somewhat distant and not so very frequently, and I liked you more 
and more. It was not long before I began to find in you the some 
thing all-around that I had failed to find in any man; began to 
grow aware of that kinship that was comradeship, and to wish you 
were a man. And there was a loneliness about you that appealed 
to me. This, perhaps, by some unconscious cerebration, may have 
given rise to my vision of you in the grass. 

"And then, by the time I was convinced of the possibility of a 
great comradeship between us, and of the futility of attempting 
to realize it, something else began to creep in the woman in you 
twining around my heart. It was inevitable. But the wonder of 
it is that in a woman I should find, not only the comradeship and 
kinship I had sought in men alone, but the great woman-love as 
well; and this woman is YOU, YOU!" 

Let himself say what Love meant to him : 

"Once you strove to write me a love letter with tolerable suc 
cess. But you have now written me a love letter. When it came 
this morning, and I read it, I was mad mad with sheer joy and 
desire. The bonds tighten, my love; we grow closer and closer. 
Ah, God. You are so close to me now, so dear, so dear. You are 
in my thought all the time. I am swimming, and as I poise for a 
dive, I ^ause a fleeting second to think of you. No matter what 
I do, no,;, I make the little pause and think of you. I do it when 
I am working, when I am reading, when people are talking to me. 
At all times it is you, you, you. 

"Love? I thought I was capable of a great love, as one will 
think, you know. But I never dreamed so great a love as this. I 
have stood on my own feet all the years of my life, was independent, 
self-sufficient. Men and women were pleasant, of course, but they 
were not necessary. I could get along without them. I could not 
conceive a time when I could not get along without them. But 
the time has come. Without you I am nowhere, nothing, You 



84 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

are the breath of life in my nostrils. Without you, and without 
hope of having you, I should surely die. Oh, woman, woman, how 
I do love you. 

"I have no doubt, now, of your love for me. You do love me, 
must love, or life is false as hell and there is no sanity in anything. 
But I do not measure your love thus. I just know you love me. 

* I write this while people wait ; and I kiss you thus, and thus, 
on the lips, and hair, and brow thus, and thus. 

Before even dreaming of coming into the country to 
live, Jack had pledged himself to lecture in the east and mid 
dle west. He had never really enjoyed public speaking, 
but was bent upon hunting a protracted session of it a first 
and last tour. Moreover, and very important, here was op 
portunity to spread propaganda for the Cause, and it was 
stipulated with the Lyceum Bureau that he should be at 
liberty to expound Socialism wherever and whenever it 
did not conflict with his regular dates. 

As our Indian Summer drew on, however, more and 
more he fretted that he must pull up stakes and tear him 
self from the happy camp that had wrought so marvelously 
upon him. But the third week in October saw him on his 
strenuous way, having demanded expenses for two, that 
Manyoungi might relieve him of all distracting personal 
details. My face laughed into his from the inside cover 
of that thin gold watch I had given him ; and one unf orgot- 
ten item of luggage was an exquisite miniature of his two 
little girls which he had had painted by Miss Wishaar 
months before. 

Shortly after his departure, I, too, did some packing 
of a simple trousseau in the pretty bureau-trunk Jack had 
presented me. This trunk was the result of one of his ad 
vertisement-answering hazards, as was one of the early 
models of wardrobe-trunk. The latter was so tall that, 
after expending more than its original cost in excess-length 
charges, he had the thing cut down to regulation sige. 

In Newton, Iowa, I visited my friend Mrs. Will Me- 



SECOND MAEEIAGE; LECTURE TRIP 85 

Murray, for a November 25 lecture had been scheduled for 
the college town of Grinnell, but a short distance from New 
ton; and it was our intention to be married at the Mc- 
Murrays and spend with them an idle week occurring in 
the tour. But the lecturer, fulfilling an engagement with 
the People s Institute in Elyria, Ohio, upon receiving a tele 
gram from California that he was entirely free, decided on 
the spur of the moment not to delay until the Grinnell date. 

On the eve of the 19th, I had his wire in hand for me to 
be in Chicago the next night, since he was to pass through 
on the way to lecture in Wisconsin. Being Sunday, he was 
obliged to arrange a special license with the County Clerk 
of Cook County. And when in obedience to his summons I 
stepped off my train in the Windy City at nine of the eve 
ning, three hours behind-time, a very weary but happily 
patient bridegroom elect was pacing the station pavement. 
In his pocket was the license, in mine my mother s wedding- 
ring ; and at the curb waited two hansom cabs, one contain 
ing an interested and beaming Manyoungi, who wanted to 
see an American wedding. 

The informal suddenness and speed of this termination 
to our courtship savored of the age of chivalry, when knight- 
errant with doughty right arm slung his lady love across 
the saddle bow on a foaming black charger. Let none say 
that ours was less romantic. What mattered it that our 
vows were spoken in a civil ceremony! After Notary 
Public J. J. Grant had made us one, we drove to the old 
Victoria Hotel where Jack interlined Mrs. Jack London" 
between his and Manyoungi *s signatures registered the 
previous day. I meanwhile, by another entrance, slipped 
upstairs. 

No one connected intimately with this "most advertised 
writer in America" could hope to escape the more or less 
notorious consequences. By me it had to be regarded as 
part of the game, if I were to observe my responsibilities. 
Therefore my philosophy of life had fortified me against 



86 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

the worst. Before Jack could procure his key, he was way 
laid by three newspapermen but they chanced to be merely 
in search of items about his trip and his books. But a 
fourth had discovered the hardly-dry interpolation on the 
register, and hovered anxiously about the quartette to learn 
if he was the only sleuth who had made the find. Jack 
sensed the situation, and presently excused himself and ran 
upstairs. In three minutes the four reporters were at our 
door, imploring an interview. Eeenforcements began to ar 
rive, and into the small hours besieged by knocks, notes, 
telegrams, cards, telephone calls from the hotel office 
streams of entreaties in every guise flowing under the door 
and over wire and transom. To all of which my husband 
remained deaf and dumb, for he must scrupulously redeem 
his promise made months before, to give the Hearst papers 
the " scoop " in return for their discretion. This he had 
done on Saturday, and the Chicago American city editor, 
Mr. Harstone, was instrumental in obtaining the special li 
cense; also, with a reporter, Mr. Harstone had served as 
witness to the ceremony. 

The appeal which came nearest to stirring Jack was the 
whispered and written : i i Come on through with the news, 
old man be merciful; we ve got to get it. You re a news 
paperman yourself, you know. Come across and help us 
out." 

When the Chicago American had appeared Monday 
morning with the heavily leaded item, the disappointed 
dailies sent representatives to call upon the bride and 
groom; and I must take occasion to congratulate those 
gentlemen upon the good-natured courtesy which cloaked 
their chagrin. Nevertheless, the end was not yet. Vengeance 
was theirs. On Tuesday morning, coming back into Chi 
cago from Geneva Falls, Wisconsin, on the business-men s 
train, we had slipped into a rearmost seat. What was 
our horror to behold, upthrust before the greedy eyes of 
"commuters" the entire length of the car, full-page photo- 



SECOND MARRIAGE; LECTURE TRIP 87 

graphs of ourselves with large headlines announcing Jack 
London s marriage "Invalid." 

"What the hell!" spluttered Jack, laughing in spite of 
himself. "The other sheets are getting even. We re in for 
it!" and thereupon delivered himself: "A fellow s got to 
pay through the nose for being loyal to his own crowd!" 
They won t stop to consider that I d have done the same for 
them, if most of my newspaper work had been for them!" 

The "other sheets" had merely endeavored to tangle 
the divorce laws of California and Illinois; but a noted 
Judge pronounced all straight. The Chicago American gave 
due space to the refutation, and we went on our path rejoic 
ing. But for weeks we could not pick up a paper, great or 
small, that did not contain publicity of one sort or another 
concerning the most advertised writer in America whether 
reviews of his books, of our marriage, of the lectures, the 
round-the-world yacht voyage, the Ranch, and what not. 

Jack maintained to all interviewers, If my marriage is 
not legal in Illinois, I shall re-marry my wife in every state 
in the Union ! 

A comical thing happened in California, when one of 
Jack s little-girl swimming pupils hurriedly scanned the 
title, * Jack London s Marriage Invalid. Hastening to her 
mother, in accents of distress she cried: 

"Oh, mama, mama, how awful! Mr. London did not 
marry Miss Kittredge after all! This paper says he s 
married an invalid!" 

One day, from Lynette McMurray s parlor, there issued 
Jack s irrepressible snicker, increasing to a wild call for 
me: 

"Oh, I ve got you now, Mate Woman! You can never 
look me in the face again after you hear this!" And pro 
ceeded to read aloud a libelous squib from a Washington, 
Iowa, weekly paper. It was to the effect that the "ugly- 
faced girl from California, so ugly that the children on the 
streets of Newton ran screaming to their mothers when- 



88 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

ever she passed by, had married Jack London. That it 
was reported the pair were soon to go to sea in a small boat, 
to be gone for years. That it would be a mercy to everybody 
if they were drowned at sea and never came back. 

"Yon think I m making it up, don t you!" Jack read 
my scornful face. "But here look at it! why, the old 
sour-ball the wretched old slob! I wonder what he d 
had for breakfast!" 

But it was I who first happened upon a reference to Jack 
London as being possessed of a bilaterally asymetrical 
countenance," and it may correctly be assumed that I 
pressed the same home with all dispatch. 

"I m NOT bilaterally asymetrical, though," indignantly 
he defended; "and anyway, I don t know what bilaterally 
asymetrical means. Take a look at me," studying himself 
in my hand-mirror. "I d say my features are fairly 
straight . . . The man that said bilaterally asymetrical was 
looking for a chance to work off the expression!" 

The time Jack was really sorry for his wife was in 
1909, in Hobart, Tasmania, when another reporter with 
something funny to work off, wrote: "Jack London s 
speech is as that of an American with an Oxford education ; 
but as for Mrs. London, hers is Americanese, undefiled, and 
unfiled." What irritated Jack in this instance was: "But 
you didn t open your head; and the man scarcely saw you, 
there in the dark of the carriage ! 

From November 26 until December 7, on which latter 
day Jack spoke at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, we 
shared the journey, and a unique one it was for me. Seldom 
was I so tired from travel that I missed a lecture, whether 
upon Socialism, or his experiences as tramp, Klondiker, 
War Correspondent, Sailor, or Writer. I never wearied 
of seeing Jack step out upon stage or platform, with that 
modest-seeming, almost bashful boyishness which so 
charmed his audiences, and yet which so quickly, when he 



SECOND MARRIAGE; LECTURE TRIP 89 

raised his splendid head and launched into any serious 
theme, changed to the imperiousness of certitude. Once, 
well appreciative though I was of his beauty in this one of 
his myriad phases, I remonstrated : 

"I wonder if you realize how forbidding you look when 
you walk out of the wings. Your expression is positively 
haughty! as if you considered your audience mere dust 
under your feet!" 

He laughed outright. 

" Why, I don t feel that way at all, of course. Don t for 
get I m making up my mind what I m going to say, and 
really not thinking of my hearers busy with my thought. 
And then, too, he figured it out, * it may be a left-over of 
the system by which I first overcame stage-fright. It was 
something like this: I ve got something to say. I ve got 
to say it. I m going to say it the best way I can, even if 
it s not oratory. If I try to make a good speech and fail 
well, I shall have failed, that s all. I very soon had de 
cided not to take too seriously any failure to speak gracious 
ly. What of it ! I said. I won t be the only one ; others have 
fallen down and why should I be proud! And anyway, 
diffidence arises from conceit, I don t care who disagrees 
with me ... So remember, Mate, when I assume what you 
are pleased to call my imperial pose, it is done quite un 
consciously, being an outgrowth of my early search after a 
shield for backwardness. I am not consciously thinking of 
myself at all ; I am busy with my thought and the imminent 
business of putting my thought in the best way possible." 

At the next lecture, when he moved out upon the boards 
he looked over at my box, his face breaking into that un 
studied morning smile that wrought lovers out of enemies, 
and a little rustle passed through the house as if wings 
were ruffling and stretching. But in a flash the smile had 
fled behind the lordly mask of his concentration, and I knew 
I had ceased to exist for him. 

But never, in any presentment of himself, was he so 



90 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

splendid, so noble, as when, with starry eyes, he flamed out 
the vision of his conversion to the only religion he was ever 
to know: "All about me were nobleness of purpose and 
heroism and effort, and my days were sunshine and star- 
shine, all fire and dew, with before my eyes, ever burning 
and\ blazing, the Holy Grail, Christ s Own Grail, the warm, 
human, long-suffering and maltreated but to be rescued and 
saved at the last. 

Jack swore he was getting enough train-travel to last all 
his life, and loathed it ever after. But very merrily, whether 
in Pullman or jerky day-coach, we put in .hours that might 
otherwise have been irksome, reading aloud, playing 
casino and cribbage, writing letters, and altogether enjoy 
ing our companionship. Moreover, and blessed assurance 
of its continuance undimmed, we respected each other s 
solitude and independence Jack at intervals spending 
hours in the smoker, listening profitably to the conversa 
tion of his own sex, or napping to make up for broken nights 
of travel. The all-around good time we invariably found 
together is best pointed by an incident several years later, 
when we were returning home from South America by way 
of the Gulf and New Orleans. As usual, we were bound 
up in each other and the interest of our occupations, at 
cards, sharing in books, the scenery, or in speculation upon 
the passengers. During one of Jack s absences, I was 
resting with closed eyes, when a beautiful matron in the 
section ahead, whom we had noticed with two younger 
women, came and sat beside me : 

"I hope you ll not think me too rude," she opened, "but 
I want to ask a very personal question. Are you really 
Mrs. Jack London?" 

There was suclj entire absence of offense in her eager, 
frank address that I could only laugh delightedly while 
assuring her this bliss had been mine for four years. But 
again she pressed: 

"Are you really she?" and before I could protest in sur- 



SECOND MARRIAGE; LECTURE TRIP 91 

prise, she hurried on, l My daughters and I have been dis 
cussing you two with the greatest curiosity, and said we 
were sure there must be some mistake the thing is in 
credible; married people don t act as you do. Never have 
we seen a married couple, except possibly on their honey 
moon, have such a good time together 1" 

All I could do, in return, was to assure her that we 
were on our honeymoon. 

From Brunswick, where Jack averred to President 
Hyde that if his college days could come again he would 
attend Bowdoin, we filled another lecture-blank week with 
my father s people in Ellsworth and Mt. Desert Island, 
Maine. A day here, a day there, in the dear homesteads that 
had once been my homes for a long free year, we spent with 
this and that aunt or cousin solid hearts of the very 
granite of old "State o Maine," with their own glow and 
sparkle that renders them instantly aware of sham of any 
kind. One and all they pronounced the captivating boy I 
had wedded, with his irradiation of sweetness and sympa 
thy and the open boyish face and heart of him, "Just one 
of us!" and called him their own forever and ever. Jack 
in turn dubbed them "salt of the earth," and gave them of 
his best. 

Around Bar Harbor ("Somesville"), West Eden and 
Northeast Harbor, in an ideal "Down East" winter, we 
drove over the snow-packed, glinting roads that skirt the 
toothed coast of this isle of seafarers. Oddly enough to 
those who think of Jack London in terms of icy Alaska 
with its white ways of transportation, Jack had never be 
fore driven in a sleigh. So varied had been his adventures, 
that it was a prize of life for me to participate with him in 
an unknown one. Smothered to the ears in a borrowed 
coon-coat, head and hands snug in sealskin cap and gloves 
he had bought in Boston, he took keen interest in manag 
ing a span of spirited blacks harnessed to a smart " cutter, " 



92 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

their red-flaring nostrils tossing white plumes of steam in 
the crackling, sun-gilt air. 

Again in Boston, we became the guests of Mr. and Mrs. 
Frank Merritt Sheldon, in their handsome colonial home 
at Newton with whom I had gone to Europe. Jack s ad 
vent must, have been an illuminating if not disturbing one to 
them, for many and ofttimes weird characters found their 
way up the driveway to the pillared portico of the lofty 
white house on a hillock. And of course newspapermen 
came and went. One of those my husband hoped to meet 
again some time, preferably in a dark alley where a nose 
might be tweaked unseen by the police ; for, in reply to this 
man s question as to how it seemed to be the wife of a 
celebrity, he had made me deliver the ecstatic cry, "It s just 
grand ! 

It was nothing unusual for some inebriated derelict to 
press the button upon the stroke of midnight ; and once an 
indubitably insane crank perturbed the early hours and 
the housemaid. But our host and hostess were ideal, spar 
ing no pains to place their home and themselves at their 
guests disposal in every finest sense and detail, and ap 
parently enjoying it all thoroughly. 

Jack was driven nearly to the limit of endurance in 
the week before the twenty-seventh, when, with a holiday 
month in store, we sailed for Jamaica. Boston cameras pic 
tured him hollow-eyed; but be he driven or not driven, I 
came to learn that he was wont to look other than his 
fresh, virile self whenever cities laid clutch upon him. 
Never did he thrive in a great metropolis. 

In Tremont Temple, and in historic Faneuil Hall, under 
the noted Gilbert Stuart of the Father of His Country, to 
packed audiences Jack London sent forth his voice for the 
Cause. In the latter auditorium, that sweet and unvan- 
quished fighter, "Mother Jones," marched up the central 
aisle to the rostrum, and greeted the young protagonist 



SECOND MAEBIAGE; LECTURE TRIP 93 

of her holy mission with a sounding kiss on either cheek. 
He spoke also at Socialist Headquarters. 

The Intercollegiate Socialist Society had been organized 
for a month or two, and the Harvard members got together 
and saw to it that the first President, Jack London, should 
be heard in Harvard Union. 

Aside from Mrs. Sheldon, myself, and one or two others, 
there were no women present in Harvard Union that night. 
We sat with Frank Sheldon and Gelett Burgess in a tiny 
gallery hung upon the rear wall of the high hall. A thrill 
ing sight it was, that throng of collegians, not only those 
crowded both seated and standing on the floor below, but 
the scores hanging by their eyebrows to window case 
ments, welcoming Jack with round upon round of ringing 
shouts and cheers an ovation, the papers did not hesitate 
to call it. 

He gave them, unsparingly, all and more than they had 
bargained for, straight from the shoulder, jolting " Revolu 
tion" into them. Once, when a statement of starvation 
facts, concerning the Chicago slums, was so awful as to 
strike a number of the chesty young bloods as a bit melo 
dramatic, a laugh started. Jack s face set like a vise, and 
he hung over the edge of the platform, a challenge to their 
better part flaming from black-blue eyes and ready, merci 
less tongue. Be it said that the response was instantaneous 
and whole-hearted, the house rising as one man and echoing 
to the applause until I, for one onlooker, choked and filled 
with emotion at the human fellowship of it. At the close 
of the lecture, Jack and Mr. Sheldon were carried off to the 
fraternity houses and royally entertained the rest of the 
night. 

One afternoon, at the request of the Boston Anverican, 
Jack attended and wrote up a performance of the Holy 
Jumpers, whose breezy antics, I dare opine, he did not re 
gard as any more outlandish than certain metaphysical 



94 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

gymnastics he wotted of and thought them far more whole 
somely cheerful. 

Still another afternoon, we put in three breathless 
hours in Thomas W. Lawson s private office at Young s 
Hotel, entirely absorbed (in a room peopled with replicas 
of elephants of every size, breed, and composition), in that 
brilliant and energetic gentleman s proposed "cure" for 
the ills and shams of modern society. Be it known, that 
the assertive and vehement conversationalist Jack Lon 
don was also a prince of listeners. His was the perfection 
of attention to any speaker who was worth while. True, he 
seldom squandered precious time upon one who was not, 
but would proceed to harry unrelentingly until he had routed 
the other; after which he would try to make up in various 
ways for his aggressiveness. 

One of our most interesting acquaintances in Boston was 
Dr. George W. Galvin, staunch Socialist and clever surgeon ; 
and one day he arranged to take us through the Massachus 
etts General Hospital. Once inside, would we care to see 
an operation! Dr. Eichardson was in the theater and about 
to remove an appendix. While my lips formed Yes, swiftly 
I roved my adventurously promising career beside the 
bright comet I had taken unto myself for better or worse, 
a future wherein I might be required to reckon with singu 
lar emergencies in war or travel by sea and land. I must 
never fail my man who despised a coward beneath all things 
under the sun. Here was chance for a certain kind of prepa 
ration. Nerves I confessed in abundance : had I nerve also ? 

And so, curious concomitant of a honeymoon, I wit 
nessed the masterly elimination of an appendix from a 
patient who bore startling facial resemblance to my own 
husband; thence to a second operating theater where we 
were present at the sanguinary trepanning, for tumor of 
the brain, of a woman s skull "a Sea-Wolf operation, 
eh!" Dr. Galvin chuckled. 

Through all of which, placing myself in a rigidly scien- 



SECOND MARRIAGE; LECTURE TRIP 95 

tific frame of mind, I emerged with flying colors, to Jack s 
congratulation. Two months later, never having viewed 
a corpse in my life, except when too young to remember, I 
was introduced to such for the first time when they 
ushered me into the dissecting chamber of the University 
of Chicago, where some dozen or so cadavers stiffly bade 
greeting to my unaccustomed gaze. These two trials, trials 
in a number of senses, reenforced by a day among the 
bleeding horrors of the stockyards in the same City, grad 
uated Jack London s wife forever out of apprehension as 
to similar tests that might overtake her. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

JAMAICA, CUBA, FLORIDA, NEW YORK CITY 
30th Year 

THE Admiral Farragut, in ballast, rode high and rolled 
prodigiously. Our cabin, well aft, suffered the full 
wallowing effect of the vessel s "sitting down in the sea- 
hollows, " and I, for the first time in adult life, fell violently 
sick. Great mortification was mine, before a sailor hus 
band, who eyed me with surprise and some misgiving, look 
ing to our aqueous future. But on the third day out, he sat 
him down in the stateroom and regarded me, , with eyes 
in which there was the pleasure of a discovery: 

"I ve been learning something about myself, and I may 
say about you, he launched forth. I never thought I had 
it in me to feel any accession of tenderness toward a sea 
sick woman ! But somehow, I seem to love you more than 
ever before I don t know why, unless because each new en 
vironment, whatever it may be, seems to make you still 
dearer to me." 

Inside the month, crossing in a dirty little Spanish 
steamer from Jamaica to Cuba, to our mutual astonishment, 
Jack himself went to pieces. A slight shock precipitated the 
attack. Only one steamer chair being visible, we had 
appropriated it ; and in a heavy surge the flimsy thing col 
lapsed. A moment s pause, and Jack picked himself up 
and walked aft without a word. He did not return. In 
quisitive, I went to investigate, and halted petrified to be 
hold my hardened tar, hanging, green-pallid and audible, 
over the stern-rail, thoroughly seasick for the initial time 

96 



JAMAICA, CUBA, FLORIDA, NEW YOEK CITY 97 

in his nautical history. And in the years to come, he ac 
cepted a recurrence as a matter of course in rough weather. 
He likened the phenomenon of mal de mer to our native 
poison-oak catch it just once, and immunity is a lost bless 
ing. In passing, I must state that Jack continued immune 
to that irritating .scourge of California, poison-oak. 

The Admiral Farragut docked at Port Antonio, Jamaica, 
on New Year s morning, 1906. In the harbor was anchored 
the Howard Gould yacht, and at the Hotel Titchfield we 
made the acquaintance of Ella Wheeler Wilcox (whom Jack 
had championed so valiantly of old to the Lily Maid), and 
her husband, Robert. 

In the afternoon I had my first revel in milk-warm, 
tropical waters, coral-girt, and we made sport for our party 
by diving for coins and practising life-saving as we had 
done in Wake Robin pool. The next day was spent in the 
saddle. Our mounts were spindly, blood-bay race-horses, 
and Jack s never for a moment let out of our minds the fact 
that he had been first under the wire in the previous day s 
races. But we saw the more, by our involuntary speed, of 
the British-neat island paradise, exploring the town itself, 
a pineapple plantation, and the romantic hill-stronghold of 
Moortown, still inhabited by the maroons descendants of 
Spanish slaves. 

The sharpest impressions carried away of that journey, 
in our first foreign clime together, were of the buxom, 
broad-smiling, .broad-hipped negro wenches, basket-on- 
head, met on the dustless mountain roads that were in 
reality fern-hedged boulevards; the spiritual featured 
Hindoo women, weighed with their family wealth of silver 
adornment, specimens of which we purchased; the foolish 
luncheon out of queer, tempting tins, accompanied by Eng 
lish "biscuits," consumed while we dangled blissful heels 
from the counter of a little wayside store with a superb 
sea-view leagues below, the ebony proprietor and his indo 
lent friends loafing genially about. But clearest of all re- 



98 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

mained the raffish spectacle, at Moortown, of a home-made 
merry-go-round. It was weather-grayed, witchy, rickety, 
and ridden by grinning black natives to a rhythmic chant 
from their own throats that affected us strangely as if by 
some potent incantation dragging into the sunlight of civili 
zation the most abysmal of racial reticences. It bestirred 
that mental unease which sometimes overtakes one who 
listens over-long to the primitive, disturbing call of modern 
jazz orchestration. 

Leaving Port Antonio on the third day, by train for Buff 
Bay, we were there met by a dusky guide with horses, we 
having chosen this route across the green, fern-forested 
mountains to Kingston. It was all * i unspeakably beautiful, 
I read in a pocket diary. We lunched and siesta d at 
Cedarhurst, an English plantation, where Barbara Francis 
brewed incomparable coffee from beans which, by a true 
lady of the land, are roasted to a crisp for each meal. 
Three large cupfuls, black and strong, I, Jack s "insom- 
niast," dared to tuck away; and three long hours after 
wards, I, the insomniast, slumbered peacefully. "Why, our 
coffee cures insomnia," crooned Barbara Francis, as she 
snuggled me into a downy four-poster from Home. " i i It s 
the way we roast it and percolate it, I fancy besides being 
the best coffee in the world to begin with ! 

Her husband led us about the plantation before we swung 
again into our saddles for the next lap, and Jack, irresistibly 
enthusiastic, made it very plain to me how coffee must be 
served on the Eanch when we should go to housekeeping. 

Out we fared into a sunset of tropically crude blue and 
copper and rose, slipping through swift twilight into starlit 
blue dark. Trustingly behind the mellow-throated guide 
our sure-footed little beasts dropped steeply down a frag 
rant trail, lighted fitfully by darting fireflies, into Chester 
Vale. Here, at Sedgwick s, the very picture of an ancient, 
rambling English country home, we spent the night. You 



JAMAICA, CUBA, FLORIDA, NEW YORK CITY 99 

couldn t pack a Broadwood half a mile," Jack quoted, com 
ing beside me where I was examining my first Broadwood 
pianoforte. "Try it, do." But the stately relic answered 
back in tones probably such as Kipling s Broadwood might 
have rendered up had it been "packed" to the humid river 
region he rimed with "mile." 

In the dewy, singing morning, it was boots and saddles 
over the Blue Ridge Range through Hardware Gap, Silver 
Hill Gap, Greenwich, Newcastle Barracks, Gordontown, 
sometimes in lanes and driveways made especially beautiful 
by tree-ferns and crimson hibiscus blossoming tree-high, 
and into Kingston by the sea. Here at the Park Lodge 
Hotel, our first caller was Ben Tillett, M. P. and labor 
leader, he and Jack of course being known to each other. 

Ah, it was so softly exciting, so wondrous, seeing the 
world together, all the glamorousness enhanced by that 
lovely old hostelry with its long French windows that let in 
the scented tropic air. My husband, who had pleasured 
exceedingly in my wintry Boston shopping for "flimsies" 
to be donned in the warmer latitudes, now had the satisfac 
tion of seeing the light apparel in use then, as always in 
the future, appreciative and critical of every detail of my 
wardrobe. Nothing would do but he must take me 
curio-seeking in quaint shops, more particularly for a be- 
jeweled, flexible silver girdle of Hindoo origin, and snaky 
bracelets to match. 

Only one incident arose to mar the holiday perfection. 
It was on the very night of arrival that I came abruptly 
upon the stone wall of one of Jack s self-styled "disgusts." 
In review, I cannot place the cause perhaps it was some 
hitch on Manyoungi s part regarding the luggage, or Jack s 
dinner-clothes ; at least, I saw no large concern back of his 
silent anger, unless . . . unless, indeed, some trifle had 
connected his memory with some unhappy occurrence in 
his past. But it was black, that mood, from whatever deeps 
it rose ; and ruthlessly he sent me, alone, to the viny bower 



100 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

that was the hotel s dining-hall, in a court of flowers that 
screened the musicians, to keep an engagement we both had 
made with a fellow traveler from Boston. 

Puzzled and hurt I was, but held my peace, and made 
smooth wifely excuses for a severe headache that was not 
altogether an untruth. In the morning Jack woke his sun 
niest, save for a wordless penitence that looked out of eyes 
which went so darkly-blue under a generous emotion. 

It was ages before the matter ever came up between us. 
But although we spoke of it, I never made sure of the under 
lying impulsion that had sent him agley. It was not the 
only instance of its kind, but I came timely to sense the 
causes, and avert them wherever in my power. Yet I hasten 
to undo any impression I may have given that in our lives 
such i spells were the order of the day. On the contrary, 
months and years might elapse during which no trace of 
the old blues intervened; and, in this connection, I am re 
minded of the gradual disappearance, after our marriage, of 
certain terrible headaches to which he had been subject. 
This was, I think, largely due to his seeking more adequate 
sleep. 

The Spanish steamer aforementioned, the Oteri, landed 
us in Santiago de Cuba on the 6th, where, from the Hotel 
del Alba, we drove about the city and to San Juan Hill, and 
strolled lace-hunting in cool little shops. And Jack bought 
some lovely fans to gratify my slight Spanish streak, 
which I called up to play its part in its own congenial 
habitat. A dinner which we enjoyed in the Cafe Venus, 
guests of a charming gentleman who was living out what of 
life was still vouchsafed by one remaining lung, was always 
a colorful memory to Jack, who incorporated it somewhere 
in his fiction. I, in a soft rosy gown, swaying languidly 
my spangled, pearl-handled fan to the lilt of a plaza band 
in the lazy warm airs under the palms, wondered if anything 



JAMAICA, CUBA, FLORIDA, NEW YORK CITY 101 

to come in our wanderings could approach the romance 
that was here. 

After the final act at a theater, when the pretty victoria 
had left us at the hotel, we ascended to our vaulted chamber 
and drifted out upon a balcony railed in fretted gilt iron, 
and lounged a restful hour, shamelessly gazing into luxuri 
ous Spanish interiors and balconies across the narrow 
street, where senoras and senoritas entertained in their 
courtly manner. I am certain that Jack reveled in that 
night ; but more certain am I that some seven-eighths of his* 
content was vested in that of his bride, to whom every mo 
ment was as a pearl of price and as such abides. 

Jack, his manhood revolting at the brazen falsity of a 
cab-driver who delivered us at the railroad station, became 
the nucleus of a gesticulating and to all appearances not 
harmless mob. As the moment of departure neared, he 
called to me to go aboard with Manyoungi. Only the fact 
that Jack had tickets and money in his possession restrained 
him from going to jail at the last instant rather than abase 
his Anglo-Saxon pride before the impudent half-breeds. 
As it was, mad as a hatter, he paid for an extra passenger 
who existed solely in the crafty imagination of the cab-man, 
and boarded the train after it was in motion. There 
was some consolation, however, when in Havana the same 
ruse was tried, and the American Consul, himself a Span 
iard, to whom Jack appealed, in short order sent to the 
right-about a much-cowed coachman who had sworn by 
the Virgin to two extra fares ! 

The rich country across which we sped that golden day, 
and an Egyptian sunset athwart little hills for all the world 
so like pyramids that one s eyes went questing through the 
rose and yellow and lilac for a Sphinx, all wrought upon 
Jack s creative faculties. He withdrew into himself at in 
tervals, to make notes for a novel which I now realize never 
was written "The Flight of the Duchess. " 



102 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

In the Spanish city of Havana, with its dream-tinted 
palaces, instead of putting up at a hotel, we found cool gray 
rooms in a flower-girt patio at Consolado and Neptune 
Streets. Of course, we did and saw everything there was 
to do and see in so short a sojourn: a launch trip around 
the twisted wreck of the Maine; visits to Moro Castle and 
Cabanas Fort, and to the swimming baths of hewn coral; 
and we drowned our souls in the fairy coloring of the isle 
and the waters of the Gulf. Notable amid our entertain 
ment was a sportive evening watching the Basque game of 
Jai Alai, followed by a gorgeous banquet in the famous 
Hotel Miramar, originally built by a rich American for the 
pleasure of his guests. 

A book in itself would be required to relate an after 
noon we spent in the lazar-house an experience that for all 
time interested us in the tragedy of the leper. 

"We hated to leave Havana, " says my red booklet, 
"but all the world s before us!" 

The steamer Halifax set us down at Key West, where 
we transferred to the ShinnecocJc for Miami. Jack, who 
from his omniverous reading knew considerable about al 
most everything under the sky, was curious to hook a few 
of the six hundred-odd varieties of fish reputed to swim in 
Miami waters. "Just think, Mate," he said to me, "one- 
fifth of the entire fauna of the American Continent, north 
of Panama, inhabit this part of the coast." Boating, 
angling for edible fish and hooking outlandish finny 
shapes, driving in the Everglades, calling at the alligator 
and crocodile farm, and shopping for curios and snake- 
skins, filled the Miami visit. Next we stopped at Daytona 
Beach, where from the Hotel Clarendon we branched out on 
automobile trips over the beautiful stretches of sand, fished 
off the long pier, and took a day s launch-exploration up 
the tropical Tomoka Kiver. 

Jack had been drooping, dull and listless, for a day or 



JAMAICA, CUBA, FLORIDA, NEW YORK CITY 103 

two. On the return cruise he became rapidly worse, so that 
I was up all night with him, and in the morning sent numer 
ous telegrams delaying New York appointments. 

No doctor would he let me summon, " Because I simply 
can t be laid up long, with New York and the rest of the 
lecture schedule to be lived up to," he demurred. "Be 
sides, it s only grippe I know the symptoms; and I also 
know myself and my recuperative abilities better than any 
doctor. 

I sat by his bedside reading aloud and running to the 
window whenever a racing car whizzed past, while the pa 
tient grumbled and groaned with splitting head: "And 
I came to this damned place mainly to see those cars at 
practice ; and now look at me ! " 

The next I knew, glancing up from a totally unemotional 
page of Shaw s "The Irrational Knot," was that Jack was 
weeping copiously, the tears coursing down his hot cheeks. 
Much perturbed, I yet failed to wring from him any ex 
planation. But I was to learn through painful experience 
that very night, for I was struck down by the identical 
malady and myself fell emotional to a degree upon the 
mildest provocation. 

Manyoungi, fortunately, remained untouched by the 
sickness, and nobly nursed the pair of us, sending further 
telegrams that moved ever ahead our New York arrival. 
Crawling in to Jack from my room, he received me with 
feeble arms and trembling voice : 

"Mate Woman, I know I shall love you always!" and 
we both cried sumptuously over the sentiment. And how we 
laughed in memory of our mawkishness, once the attack of 
dengue, or "boo-hoo" fever, which it proved to be, was a 
thing of the past. 

As soon as we were slightly better, we took a drawing- 
room for New York, stopping over at Jacksonville for an 
afternoon in which to totter around the Ostrich Farm. 



104 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

The foregoing is by way of preparing the reader for re 
ceiving into New York City a white, hollow-eyed, very 
miserable Jack London, burdened with an almost insupport 
able number of engagements to fulfil in half the days he 
had originally alloted them. The first was a socialist meet 
ing in Grand Central Palace, his lecture advertised for 
eight p. m., and our belated train gave him scant leeway. 
In no wise aided by the fact that I had to go to bed, too 
blind with pain in head and muscles to lend cheer by word 
or smile, Jack, ill, travel-worn, dinnerless, got into his black 
suit and somehow carried off the occasion. His audience, 
a mixed one, totaled nearly four thousand. 

More than once Jack had forewarned me, in similar 
strain to his remarks in the Johns Letters, of the baleful 
influence exercised upon him by this mighty man-trap, New 
York City. Even so, that early, I was inclined to discount 
the mental factor, laying his condition mainly at the door 
of fever and social over-strain. But I was forced to change 
my mind. His own diagnosis was that his experience with 
the City, first from the viewpoint of tramp and beggar, and 
afterward from that of successful author at whom "pub 
lishers were trying to throw money in the form of advances 
on unperformed work, seemed to have unbalanced his pre- 
ceptions and sent him reasoning in a circle like that of cer 
tain young German philosophers. 

"It s all a madness, " he would gird. " Why should 
anybody do any thing V is my continual thought when I am 
in New York. I am being shaved : I look up into the face 
of the man who is using the razor on me, and wonder why 
he doesn t cut my throat with it. I stare with amazement 
at the elevator-boy in the hotel, that he doesn t throw 
everything to the winds and let loose in one hell of a smash- 
up, just for the whimsey of it!" 

At the opera, he brooded and made notes. If the music 
reached him at all, it was not as music, but as an urge 
toward other thoughts and speculations. "Music? It is a 



JAMAICA, CUBA, FLORIDA, NEW YORK CITY 105 

drug," said he. "I have asked several men and women for 
a definition of music. George Sterling comes the nearest to 
satisfying a drug. It sets me dreaming like a hasheesh- 
eater." 

We sat at the Winter Garden. He filled the evening 
agonizing mentally over the probable careers, in the thea 
trical shambles, of the choms girls, beautiful mere children 
that they were, flown like moths to the bright lights that 
were consuming them. 

We supped at the Revolutionists Club, and afterward 
inspected a mile or so of the Ghetto, peering into the un- 
ventilated gloom of "inside rooms, " at the sullen pasty 
faces of the inmates. Jack moved about, either silently, as 
if playing his part in a nightmare, or arguing strenuously 
as if against time. 

Up-town or down-town, it seemed as if all normal spon 
taneity had fled from him, and I could but exist in hope 
that the man, who was as though a thousand-thousand 
leagues apart from me, might one day come .suddenly 
to his own again, to the healthy, vital boy that was himself. 

After one reception that was given in our honor, when 
a newspaperwoman had seized the occasion to poke a little 
fun at the bride s obvious devotion, Jack sneered with 
mirthless laugh: "What did you expect? Any natural 
human appreciation of anything natural and human, in 
New York f" 

It was about this time that The Cosmopolitan Magazine 
had issued a challenge to a few of America s thinking 
writers, to contribute articles on the theme "What Life 
Means to Me." Jack had not yet found leisure in which 
even to ponder what he should say ; but a conversation with 
Edwin Markham stirred him to action: 

"How are you going about it f " asked the white-maned 
poet, his splendid dark eyes bent upon the younger man. 

"Damned f I know!" smiled Jack. "How are you? 79 

Followed a discussion, Mr. Markham appreciating 



106 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Jack s uncompromising socialist approach to the subject, 
but doubtful of its expediency as regarded the magazine 
editors. 

But when the Jack London production appeared in Thg 
Cosmopolitan, it was without editorial blue elision, " Which 
is why I like to work for Hearst, " Jack repeated an oft- 
voiced opinion. "Writers for Hearst, special writers like 
myself, are paid well for expanding their own untrammeled 
views. ( Once he expatiated : i Why, when I returned from 
Manchuria and presented my expense account, the Examiner 
editor said, For God s sake, London, do itemize this a little 
before I send it in ! I did this, and the unquestioned total 
was remitted in due course. " So meticulously, indeed, had 
The Examiner observed the details of Jack s war correspon 
dence, that he had been greatly entertained, upon his re 
turn, to notice that wherever he had queried his own spell 
ing, the " (Spl?) " with which he had preceded the word was 
left untampered!) 

In Jack London s "What Life Means to Me" (final 
article in book entitled "Bevolution"), one reads what is 
perhaps his most impassioned committal of himself as a 
rebel toward the shames and uncleannesses of the capitalist 
system. Here he dedicates himself to what he sees as his 
Holy Grail, to "the one clean, noble and alive" thing worth 
working for George Sterling s definition of Socialism. 
In the essay Jack hints at some of his experiences, east and 
west, more than one of them in the immediate past of his 
lecturing tour, and what he learned therein concerning the 
women and men of the tottering edifice of the upper crust 
of Society. His challenge is flung to that thin and cracking 
upper crust as he saw it: "with all its rotten life and un- 
buried dead, its monstrous selfishness and sodden mate 
rialism. 

The only break in the New York days was when Jack 
went to New Haven to give the "Be volution" lecture at 



JAMAICA, CUBA, FLORIDA, NEW YORK CITY 107 

Yale University, under title of "The Coming Crisis. " To 
my everlasting regret I was too weak to accompany him. 
He was invited to speak by the author of that exquisite, 
human Irish idyl, "My Lady of the Chimney Corner/ 
Reverend Alexander Irvine, who represented the state com 
mittee and the New Haven Local. Jack cut out several 
less important affairs, and gave to Connecticut January 26. 
No theater nor hall being available, the Socialists, includ 
ing members of the Intercollegiate Society, had held an in 
formal Smoker in an ivied tower in Vanderbilt Hall of the 
august college, and hatched the critical scheme of getting 
the Faculty interested in bidding Jack London, famous 
young litterateur, to grace Woolsey Hall, Yale s million- 
dollar white marble memorial. 

Dr. Irvine commissioned an astute, socialistically-bent 
student to take the matter up, first, with an officer of Yale 
Union, a debating society. The seed fell on fertile ground. 
"The officer of the Yale Union, " says Dr. Irvine, in a de 
lightful illustrated brochure which he afterward compiled, 
"was a youth of exceeding great callowness. 

" They say he s socialistically inclined, Doctor/ he 
said. 

" Rather, I replied. 

" Well, he said, I suppose we ll have to take our 
chances. " 

Dr. Irvine guaranteed the hall rent, advertising, and 
so forth, provided an admission fee of ten cents might be 
charged, which was agreed upon. 

It really was a shame, what these graceless free-thinkers 
put over upon President Hadley. One of the leading Pro 
fessors, although apprehensive of Jack s "radical ten 
dencies," was yet reasonable: "Yale is a University," 
enounced he, "and not a monastery. Besides, Jack Lon 
don is one of the most distinguished men in the world. 

Dr. Irvine tells : "A few hours after it was decided that 
we could have Woolsey Hall the advertising began. The 



108 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

factories and shops were bombarded with dodgers. Every 
tree on the campus bore the mysterious inscription: Jack 
London at Woolsey Hall. Comrade Dellfant painted a 
poster which gripped men by the eyes. In it Comrade Lon 
don appears in a red sweater and in the background the 
lurid glare of a great conflagration. . . . On the morning of 
the 26th Yale official and unofficial awoke as if she had 
been dreaming. She rubbed her eyes and again scanned 
the trees and the billboards. Then the officers of the Yale 
Union were run down. They had previously run each other 
down. Explanations were in order all around. Several of 
the Yale Union boys in pugilistic parlance lost their little 
goats. They were scared good and stiff. Several Yale Dons 
got exceedingly chesty over the affair. But the New Yale 
took a hand, and Professors Kent and Phelps counseled a 
square deal and fair play. One student, in sympathy with 
the meeting, said: "Yale Union and many of the Faculty 
are sweating under the collar for fear London might say 
something socialistic. 

But it was definitely settled that the lecture could 
not be called off and the only thing was to make the best 
of it. "When we arrived on the scene, " Dr. Irvine refers 
to Jack and himself, "the boys still believed that any ref 
erence to Socialism would be merely incidental. 7 Jack s 
friend, by the way, in his spirited account attires the speak 
er, with marked respect, in a white flannel shirt ! Friends 
and enemies alike insisted upon his wearing flannel ! 

The crowd that packed Woolsey Hall represented every 
social phase of New Haven and its suburbs a hundred pro 
fessors and ten times as many students ; many hundreds of 
workingmen; many hundreds of citizens; many hundreds 
of Socialists. "But," the humorous Irish divine remarks, 
"the Socialists were so overwhelmed by the bourgeois 
atmosphere that there was not the slightest attempt to ap 
plaud during the entire length of the lecture." And the 
Socialist "bouncers" who had been surreptitiously sta- 



JAMAICA, CUBA, FLORIDA, NEW YOEK CITY 109 

tioned throughout the big audience, in reserve for possible 
ructions, held their idle hands. 

"For over two hours the audience gave the lecturer a 
respectful hearing. A woman a lady went out swearing. 
A few students tried hard to sneer, but succeeded rather 
indifferently. Jack London gripped them by the intellect 
and held them to the close. Following the lecture, Comrade 
London was invited to a student s room one of the largest 
and there he answered questions until midnight. As the 
clock struck twelve a member of the Yale Union came to me 
and asked me seriously if I thought there was any hope of 
keeping London for a week! We can fit him up here, he 
said, in fine shape. 

"There was a second conference at Mory s and some 
tired intellects were handled rather roughly by the guests 
of the evening but the students clung to him and escorted 
him in the we sma hours up Chapel Street toward the So 
cialist parsonage where another reception was awaiting 
him. 

"A Professor of Yale," Dr. Irvine concludes, "told 
me a few days after the lecture that it was the greatest in 
tellectual stimulus Yale had had in many years, and he 
sincerely hoped that London would return and expound 
the Socialist program in the same hall." 

Jack had been advised beforehand as to certain faulty 
acoustics in the beautiful auditorium. That he lent no 
deaf ear may be judged from one of the newspapers, which 
also gives a hint upon his platform personality at that 
time : 

". . . he walked to the edge of the stage and began to 
speak in a clear voice, which reached easily to the farthest 
corner of the hall. He used scarcely any gestures, and rare 
ly raised his voice even to emphasize a point. His emphasis 
he got by reiteration. 

As for his countenance, in a photograph taken with 



110 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Dr. Irvine, there can be noticed the strange, haggard look 
he wore during that period. 

His immediate treatment by the New Haven dailies 
was one of leniency, not lacking the dignity of at least 
trying to quote him verbatim. He was not flattered by the 
portrait they published, since it was of some one else, 
youthfully apostolic in appearance, arrayed quite differ 
ently from Jack s reputed "white flannel shirt. " 

While the local press was minded to be indulgent and 
the University as little unduly excited as had been Har 
vard in its turn, the trustees of Derby Neck Library, in the 
same State, rose in a denunciatory body and repudiated, to 
all intents and purposes forever, the entire works of Jack 
London. Further misquoting his "to hell with the con 
stitution " pronouncement, those opinion creators exhorted 
the public, in no uncertain terms, likewise to spurn all 
periodicals containing Jack s stories. 

It had happened that Mr. Melville E. Stone, general 
manager of the Associated Press, spoke in New Haven upon 
the same evening with Jack London. But whenever asked, 
by sympathizers, regarding the policy of the Derby Neckers, 
if he thought Mr. Stone s presence had anything to do with 
the deluge of adverse newspaper notoriety which followed. 
Jack invariably insisted: "Not in the least. I am per 
sonally convinced that Mr. Stone had nothing to do with it. 

But it was ludicrous how the tune of the press changed 
from "the brilliant young author" to criticisms such as, 
"pathologically he is a neurasthenic," or it disposed of him 
lightly as "that socialist sensation-monger who calls him 
self Jack London." It is noteworthy, however, that his 
mother s home town, Massillon, Ohio, supported an editor 
with a sense of proportion, for he naively propounded, in 
The Morning Gleaner, "Must a novelist necessarily admire 
the Constitution?" 

The truth is, that the wide controversy as to black 
listing Jack s books caused an alarming slump in sales for 



JAMAICA, CUBA, FLORIDA, NEW YOEK CITY 111 

some time to come. He, who always maintained his unfit- 
ness for physical martyrdom : I d tell anything under tor 
ture 1" thus sacrificed unflinchingly for his beliefs, mar 
tyred his brain faculties in the cause of Truth. 

About the nearest the capitalist editors leaned toward 
championing him, or at least reacting to the high-handed 
imposition of arbitrary standards upon readers of Derby 
Neck or other communities, was when they voiced some 
thing of President "Wheeler s earlier sentiments as to the 
unlidding of highly explosive propaganda. 

Came the ninth and last day that parted us from our 
western trek. Whisked from a luncheon of celebrities to 
the Twentieth Century Limited, we were settled in our sec 
tion and the car gliding homeward, when Jack, suddenly, 
with a sigh, nodded his curly head and as suddenly fell 
asleep. All strain was erased from his features it was the 
face of a dreaming child that slipped into the hollow of my 
shoulder, ordained from aforetime. When he awoke, and 
consciousness had focused in his eyes, they looked up into 
mine with a matter-of-course recognition of content. Upon 
his tongue was speech of home and how were the dear 
Brown Wolf, and that rabbity little bay mare, Fleet, which 
the young Aliens had sold us along with other farm per 
quisites when they vacated the old house on the Hill place? 

It was preciously similar to the way he had emerged 
from his thrall on that epochal spring day in Nunn s 
Canyon. And I was to learn, whensoever great Gotham 
claimed its price and prize of his unresting heart and brain, 
that I must deal with another personality than the wonted 
Jack London. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

CHICAGO; RETURN TO OAKLAND, GLEN ELLEN; EARTHQUAKE 

1906 

CHICAGO, noises and drafts and sifting soot and all, 
seemed to reach to us east-worn travelers like home 
and peace, despite the rushing stop-over that had been 
charted. 

On Sunday, January 28, Jack lectured to the Socialists 
at the West Side Auditorium, introduced by A. M. Simons, 
editor of the International Socialist Review. Standing-room 
only, and that all taken, was the situation long before Jack 
had risen to speak. 

On Monday he repeated "The Social Revolution " at the 
University of Chicago, and the Socialists were more than 
ever elate that the "magnificent lecture of Comrade Lon 
don " should be staged in the "intellectual stronghold of 
Standard Oil." Kent Hall, which had been opened to the 
Sociological Club, was incapable of holding the mob bent 
upon seeing and hearing its famous mouth-piece, to say 
nothing of the students themselves and a horde of citizens. 

It was a fine sight to me, the hundreds overflowing on to 
the stage itself, sidewalks jammed outside, and more coming 
every second. Things were growing tense. The dissatisfied 
murmur of the many denied admission floated into the 
packed playhouse. Then an usher climbed before the foot 
lights and announced that the meeting would adjourn to 
Mandel Hall Mandel Hall! the auditorium consecrated to 
the most dress-parade functions of the great University, 
and even known to have been refused to the minor colleges 
for their commencement exercises. 

112 



BETURN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 113 

The galleries had been barred; but when the throng 
had swept aside the helpless ushers and occupied every 
foot of space, seat and aisle, fear of infringing fire regula 
tions caused the galleries to be thrown open. 

The dailies of Chicago, still smarting under the sup 
pressed wedding news, as well as from Jack s late attacks, 
from the Atlantic Coast, upon her sweat-shop atrocities, 
naturally let him have the broadside of their ridicule and 
enmity. But somehow, so fond were we of the city, it failed 
to offend. 

Before we said good-by, Mr. Simons and his attractive 
and learned wife had us to the University dissecting rooms 
aforementioned, as well as to the Armour and Swift stock 
yards and slaughtering plants. And while we were on the 
trail of unpleasant but instructive sights of the world in 
which we live, we spent a night going through one section 
of Chicago s "red-light" district. 

Our last sight-seeing, ere we left on the 31st for St. Paul, 
was of Hull House, where we made the acquaintance of Miss 
Jane Addams. It Was a treat to listen to a discussion be 
tween Miss Addams and Jack London each approaching 
the same heartfelt problems from widely divergent angles. 

"Well," Jack observed, stretching himself in the Pull 
man, the Little Woman has added a number of strange ex 
periences to her life. And you don t know," he broke out, 
"you can t guess, what it means to me, to have you by my 
side everywhere, in everything I do and see. I am not 
lonely any more. Wherever I go, at least, wherever it is 
possible for me to take you, I want you with me I want 
you to know the world as I know it, the good and the bad 
of it. It means the world to me that you don t flinch 
from any of it, so far as I can see. In fact, his tone went 
grave and his brow severe, before breaking into laughing 
speech, "the way that you, shameless women that you are, 
tenderly raised a vegetarian, put away that hearty lunch 



114 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

after seeing animals slaughtered all forenoon, worries me 
about your immortal soul!" 

"But you will kindly remember/ I came back, "that I 
confined my depredations solely to bivalves and prawns !" 

In the little diary of that day s ride I find: "Jack says 
we two are living in a Land of Love, wherever we are." 
There is less tender notation to the effect that I was sorely 
beaten at both casino and cribbage; also mention of our 
finishing Turgenev s "On the Eve" and beginning Gis- 
sing s "The Unclassed," reading aloud, turn about. 

At St. Paul, Jack lectured for the Lyceum Bureau. We 
visited the handsome State Capitol, fashioned throughout, 
marbles and all, from native American materials. We sat 
through an exciting wrestling match in the Armory. And 
nothing would do but Jack must take part in an impromptu 
"curling" tournament. It was with keen enjoyment he 
drove the heavy but elusive disks over the constantly swept 
ice-rink, and the very picture of a Scotch laddie was he, in 
borrowed tarn o shanter and woolen plaid. We heard later, 
much to his amusement, that the driver of the automobile 
that returned us over the hard snow to the hotel, had been 
arrested for speeding! 

Grand Forks, North Dakota, was the next jump, where 
we were entertained by President Merrifield of the State 
University, and in this city on February 3 were given Jack s 
two final lectures. The "first and last tour," so far as the 
speaking end of it was concerned, had terminated untime 
ly, for Jack was tired and ill from the long siege, and had 
crossed off a number from the itinerary. On the train he 
wrote Cloudesley Johns: 

"I called off the Mills [B. Fay Mills, The Evangelist] debate 
because he requested me to, and because the only alternative was a 
refined and sublimated statement that had nothing in it to debate 
about. Have been miserably sick, and have cancelled a whole 
string of lectures, including all California lectures. I sent you a 



EETUEN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 115 

wire canceling Owen debate. ... I won t get down to Los Angeles 
this spring. 

The remainder of the journey was without special event, 
except that our train was delayed above beautiful Dunsmuir, 
in California, by a freight wreck ahead in a canyon. The 
passengers made a picnic of it, wandering about the adjacent 
country ; and we twain, being immersed in Selma Lagerlof s 
"Gosta Berling," reclined upon a grassy slope and read 
to each other. I think it will be seen, by now, why Jack and 
I were never bored, no matter how long nor uninteresting, 
in the estimate of some mortals, our traverse. Life was 
not long enough in which to read the books we desired, 
to do the work laid out, to talk of the myriad things sug 
gested by other myriad things ; nor to love. 

At three o clock, the last but one morning before we 
reached Oakland, Jack woke me in my berth. Disturbing 
my rest being a tacit taboo, I was startled ; but his instant 
whisper, shaken with eagerness, reassured: " Throw on 
your kimono and come out on the platform with me. I 
want to show you something youVe got to see it!" 

It was indeed " something " great Shasta, upthrust 
14,000 feet, snow-crowned, into the moonlit, night-blue dome 
of the sky; and the Lassen Buttes, stark and flat in the 
beams of a setting moon, like peaks cut from heavy dull- 
gold cardboard. Eight years thereafter, in Mexico, when 
General Funston remarked that he had read in "El Im- 
parcial V telegraphic column that Mt. Lassen was in erup 
tion, my mind flew back to that hour before dawn when Jack 
and I, so airily clad, arm-in-arm on the lurching vestibule 
platform, gazed out upon the fairy scene, and spoke in 
hushed tones. 

The Oakland reporters flocked to Jack upon his return, 
and to their queries he repeated that if his marriage had 
proved invalid in Illinois, he would have remarried in every 



116 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

state in the Union. Keferring to some misreport about 
himself, I find this from the Oakland Herald: 

"Yes, that was another case of being the victim of re 
porters readjustment of facts. Oh, I know I have been a 
newspaperman myself thereby perhaps I know so well 
how impossible it is for reporters to avoid perverting facts. 
Oh, heavens, no! I am not trying to demonstrate that re 
porters are natural-born liars, and yet. . . . 

"Why, do you know, while I was in Chicago the other 
day, I had two reporters struggle with my immortal soul 
for hours trying to get me to say that I am a believer in 
free love which I am not at all. They struggled nobly, 
but I stood firm to the argument that the family group is 
the very hub of things. 

"But then I rather enjoy this misrepresentation. It is 
amusing; and besides you know, it s fine advertising! And 
I don t take myself seriously, so can take all that s said 
about me as a joke, for I always try to laugh at the in 
evitable." 

Jack had concluded to cease paying rent in Oakland ; and 
shortly after our arrival, as man and wife, at the little flat 
in Telegraph Avenue, we set about finding a suitable house 
for his mother and Johnnie, as well as Mammy Jennie. One 
was purchased on Twenty-Seventh Street, Jack s ultimate 
decision influenced by the handsome woods of its interior 
finishing, for he was fond of good lumber. One room in the 
upper story we reserved for town headquarters. 

By mid-month we were on the way to our true home, 
and were met at the Glen Ellen station by "Werner Wiget, 
who had long since changed his abode from the Fish Eanch 
to the farm-house up the mountain, where now he was in 
charge, under my Aunt s supervision in Jack s absence. 

"Jack s House," at Wake Eobin, as it has ever since 
been known, served as formerly for writing quarters and 
Manyoungi s sleeping place. Other living rooms, added to 



BETUBN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 117 

Wake Eobin Lodge proper, and spoken of as the Annex, 
were in readiness for our use, and a neat and comely neigh 
bor, Mrs. Grace Parrent, who wanted to swell her own 
family exchecquer for some special purpose, had engaged 
to cook and ply her deft French needle in preparing me for 
the round-world voyage. 

It was a sort of sublimated camping. Our winter table 
was set in a corner of the spotless kitchen that was odorous 
of new pine; and later on, when spring s caprices had 
quieted, the table was removed out under the laurels at 
the brookside, where our crocked butter and cream cooled in 
the ripples. Mrs. Parrent s excellent repasts were en 
joyed to the music of tuneful Korean treebells that Man- 
youngi knew well how to place to advantage among the bays 
and oaks. Jack and I had discovered many tastes in com 
mon, even to a fondness for olive oil as a culinary lubricator, 
in preference to the animal fats. He had acquired his 
among the Greek fishermen, I in my Aunt s vegetarian 
household. 

Jack was not yet looking quite himself, the sunken 
shadows still lurking about his eyes ; and a marked decrease 
in weight was noticeable. I was aware of an almost painful 
relief in that he was once more out of the turmoil of urban 
life and immersed in laying plans for the summer s work 
and play, the building of his deep-sea, boat, and the modest 
improvement of the "Blessed Ranch," as he lovingly re 
ferred to it. Consequently, it was with positive alarm that 
I regarded the managing editor of a large eastern monthly, 
who arrived from New York two days after our return to 
Wake Robin, his mission to induce Jack immediately to re- 
cross the continent, for the purpose of making a first-hand 
study of the southern cotton-mills in relation to child-labor. 

Caring perhaps sinfully, who shall say? more for the 
imminent welfare of this man of mine than for all the serfs 
of all ages, I sat at the interview silently exerting every 



118 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

fiber of me against his going. I was certain, from observa 
tion of his internal restlessness, that if he went back into the 
cities so soon, there might be dire consequences. Rea 
soning back to his state antedating the summer of 1905, I 
knew he had had enough, for the time being. 

The editor was plainly anxious not to find his journey 
in vain. Eloquently he pleaded. Jack pondered with 
troubled eyes, and would not give answer until he and I 
had talked it over. He wanted to do the thing; his con 
science pressed him to do it. And though he recognized 
as well as I the need in which he stood of freedom from what 
he had only just escaped, he would not have shirked even 
if his actual life had depended upon it. But balanced against 
this new work was the work he had already pledged, to 
gether with other responsibilities ; and there came to aid his 
ultimatum a slight misstep of the editor, who let drop that 
if Jack did not undertake the commission, another man, 
only a little less noted Socialist was in view. "Let 
the other fellow have a chance/ often a slogan of Jack 
London s, was the outweighing grain in the scales. 

Jack knew, and why, though I said little and tried not 
to look too much, that I was dead-set against his going. I 
never learned precisely what he thought of my attitude 
whether he blamed me for being instrumental, by mere 
woman-mothering possessiveness and solicitude, in with 
holding him from a duty, or was glad I agreed that he stay 
west for a while. If there resided in his mind any un 
flattering criticism, it died with him. It may be that some 
thing restrained me from asking; and joy in his augmented 
well-being always my religious care took the place of 
morbid self-examination. Before I desert the subject, 
let it be said that the second-choice of author and investi 
gator did a splendid piece of work "Better than I could 
have done it, by far!" Jack enunciated his satisfaction; 
hence the ultimate good was served. Furthermore, one 
of Jack s finest bits of writing, after our return, was a story 



RETURN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 119 

of the making of a hobo by the process of cotton-mill child- 
slavery. This was i i The Apostate, which, following serial 
publication, came to have wide circulation in pamphlet 
form through a Socialist publishing house in Chicago. 
(The book " Revolution " contains this tale.) 

How more than busy we were! Aside from regular 
writing, which was soon resumed, Jack, with eye to home- 
building, ordered fruit-trees of all descriptions suitable 
to the latitude, and seventy-odd varieties of table-grapes 
orchard and vineyard to be planted upon an amphi 
theater behind a half-circle we had chosen for the house- 
site. Johannes Reimers tendered the benefit of his pro 
fessional advice about the trees and vines, and ordered for 
us a hedge of Japanese hawthorne to flourish between or 
chard and house-space, which in time grew into a glory of 
orange and red berries alternating with a season of white 
blossoming. The plot was on the lip of a deep wooded ravine 
which was the Ranch s southern boundary, ancient redwood 
and spruce, Jightning-riven and eagle-nested, accenting the 
less majestic growth. We never wearied of riding Belle and 
Ban to the spot, in our minds eyes the vision of a rugged 
stone house that was to rise like an indigenous growth from 
the grassy semi-circle. 

While occupied upon two Alaskan tales, "A Day s 
Lodging" and "The Wit of Porportuk" (bound in "Love 
of Life" and "Lost Face"), Jack arranged the manuscripts 
for two short-story volumes, "Moon Face" and "Love of 
Life," published in 1906 and 1907 respectively. Next, 
Upton Sinclair s "The Jungle" was reviewed. Jack, who 
apositely dubbed it "The Uncle Tom s Cabin of Wage- 
Slavery," sadly observed thereafter that the most conspic 
uous result of this expose of labor conditions in the stock 
yards was only to make the public more careful what it put 
into its stomach. 

While he was working on another story, "When God 



120 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Laughs, " a letter was received from Mr. E. H. Sothern, 
asking him to write a socialistic play for himself and Miss 
Julia Marlowe ; but nothing ever came of this. 

Before starting upon a new novel, i i Before Adam, Jack 
had, in addition to the above-noted short work, completed 
an article, "The Somnambulists " (in "Revolution"), also 
the stories "Created He Them" and "Just Meat" (both 
in "When God Laughs" collection), and "Finis" (in "The 
Turtles of Tasman.") Then, by way of relaxation and 
practice on drama form, he did a curtain-raiser from 
his story "The Wicked Woman" this flick of drama 
going into the volume "The Human Drift," brought out 
posthumously. 

During March, he visited Oakland to deliver a Social 
ist lecture at Dietz Opera House. Following this event, 
Jack London was talked of for Socialist Governor at the 
next elections. While in Oakland, we selected a two-seated 
rig and a runabout. Jack had set his heart upon a buck- 
board, such as one in which his neighbor, Judge Carroll 
Cook, used to meet friends at the railroad station. But 
we were in urgent need of a vehicle for the same pur 
pose, and snapped up the neat uncovered wagon with yellow 
wheels, looking forward to a buckboard later on. Jack 
never acquired that buckboard. Instead, when the Napa 
Winships went in for gasolene, we bought out their other 
rolling stock, which came to serve all purposes. 

Mrs. Louise Clark, a neighbor, sold us the horse Selim, 
a black handful of abounding energy. Jack, in the pro 
cess of subduing Selim and the silly Fleet to gentle uses, 
waxed in soft-spoken patience unbelievable to his old pals 
who came to look on. We took much interest, also, in 
forming different spans with our four light horses, har 
nessed to the new four wheelers. 

And oh, yes the good Brown Wolf, tiny pointed ears 
flattened ingratiatingly back into his russet ruff, and long 
pink tongue lolling dumb delight and pride, presented us 



EETURN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 121 

to a new family of puppies. One of these went to Jack s 
children. "I don t think much of the rest," he ruefully 
surveyed them and their mongrel if excellent mother ; so 
we kept none of the litter. 

Presently the astounding booksmith had begun his atav 
istic "Before Adam," which came out in Everybody s 
Magazine. Upon its publication a hue and cry went 
up, originating in a men s club, to the effect that Jack 
London had plagiarized Stanley Waterloo s "The Story 
of Ab." Be it said, however, that Mr. Waterloo did not 
start the trouble. Jack was frank to admit that The Story 
of Ab" had been one of his sources of material. "But 
Waterloo was not scientific," he stoutly defended, "and I 
have made a scientific book out of my re-creation on the 
subject." So correct was his assumption, that "Before 
Adam" went into the universities of the United States as a 
text-book in Anthropology. To George Sterling, in June, 
he wrote : 

"Have just expressed you MS of Before Adam. It s 
just a skit, ridiculously true, preposterously real. Jump 
on it." 

England, even that early, in the character of Red Eye 
saw a "cryptic reference to the German Emperor." 

Jack, who derived material from every available source 
and especially from the newspapers as representing life, 
was eternally dogged at the heels by small men at home and 
abroad who charged plagiarism these having little com 
merce with one, more generous, who said, "If I could by 
hook or crook write anything worth Jack London s copy 
ing, I should consider it a privilege. As for Jack, he did 
not try to boycott those who benefited by his creations. 
Rather was he pleased that he had been first ! 

That year of 1906, sketchy as was our domestic menage, 
many visitors came to the Lodge annex, and Auntie let us 
spill over into the main house. Among the names in my 
journal I come upon our good friends the Granville-Shueys 



122 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Dr. Shuey was custodian of the welfare of Jack London s 
troublesome teeth to the end of the patient s life; Mr. 
Bamf ord ; I. M. Griffin, the artist, a number of whose can 
vases, painted in the neighborhood, Jack purchased ; Henry 
Meade Bland, of San Jose, at all times one of Jack s most 
tireless biographers ; Felix Peano, sculptor, in whose house, 
La Capriccioso, Jack had once lived; young Eoy Nash, of 
whom "The People of the Abyss" had made a Socialist; 
Ernest Untermann, author, and translator of Karl Marx; 
the George Sterlings; different members of the talented 
family of Partingtons; George Wharton James, who 
charmed with his social qualities and music, and later pub 
lished most readable articles upon his visit; Elwyn Hoff 
man, poet ; Herman Whitaker ; Xavier Martinez, artist and 
prince of bohemians "Sometimes I think," Jack once re 
marked, "that George Sterling and Marty are the realest 
bohemians I have ever known ! " ; Maud Younger, settlement 
worker and philanthropist ; and a long list beside. 

Our amusements consisted in exploring, alone or with 
our guests, the infinite variety of the one hundred and twen 
ty-nine acres of Jack s "Beauty Eanch"; driving or riding 
to points in the valley say Cooper s Grove, a stately group 
of redwoods; or to Hooker s Falls across in the eastern 
range ; or to Santa Eosa, as when we drove Professor Edgar 
Larkin, of Mt. Lowe Observatory, to call upon Luther Bur- 
bank; or to the valley resorts to swim, for a change from 
Sonoma Creek, in the warm mineral tanks. 

During the Moyer-Haywood trouble in Idaho, Jack was 
urger by The Eocamwer to go there and report proceedings 
in his own way ; but he was too involved at home to spare the 
time. Nevertheless, he managed to sandwich in a rousing 
article, which was printed by the Socialist Voice, of Oakland. 

All of which reads like the crowded year it was ; yet it 
is but a sample of eleven surpassingly full years we 
were to live out together. In addition to what I have set 



EETUEN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 123 

down, Jack read numberless books of all sizes and titles, and 
we still found opportunity to share, aloud, H. G. Wells, de 
Maupassant, Gertrude Atherton, Sudermann, Phillpotts, 
Saleeby, Herbert Spencer, and countless others, including 
plays among them Bernard Shaw s, Clyde Fitch s, Ib 
sen s ; and, above all, endless poetry. It is a curious jumble, 
I know; but Jack read rapaciously both of the meatiest 
and the trashiest. He must know * what the other fellow is 
doing. 

One day, he received a letter from a bank in Billings, 
Montana, informing him that two checks bearing his signa 
ture had been returned from Chicago marked "No Funds. " 
It was an instance of the * doubles who were fast coming 
into being. The nearest Jack had ever been to Billings 
was when, a few months previous, we had passed through 
on our westward way. Jack promptly forwarded to the 
bank his photograph and signature, and also an outside 
cover of the current Everybody s Magazine, on which 
under a sort of * f ootprints-on-the-sands-of-time " illustra 
tion for "Before Adam" his autograph was reproduced. 
The Bank was finally convinced ; but from all accounts the 
imposter had closely resembled Jack London, and the hand 
writing was not dissimilar. 

This was, I think, the only time a "double" passed 
worthless checks ; but several others worked the country in 
capacities more or less injurious to the original. One of 
them stirred up revolution in Mexico, long before 1914, 
at which time Jack London paid his first and last visit to 
that restless republic, as war correspondent with General 
Funston. Another winnowed Oklahoma and adjoining ter 
ritory, and the celebrated "101 Ranch," for all they were 
worth in board and lodging and information. Still others 
led girls astray, and many the piteous letters, addressed to 
places where Jack had never set foot, or when the pair of us 
were on the other side of the world, begging restitution for 
anything from stolen virtue to diamonds. Jack tried to get 



124 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

in touch with these floating impersonators, promising 
safe departure if they would only come to the Ranch and 
entertain him with their methods. But even when his letters 
never returned, there were no replies. While we were honey 
mooning in Cuba, according to one side of a correspondence 
that came into Jack s possession, a spurious J. L. was carry 
ing on an affair with a mother of several children in Sacra 
mento, California. 

On April 18, 1906, there came, in a sense, the l i shock of 
our lives. " One need hardly mention that it was the Great 
Earthquake, which, most notable of consequences, destroyed 
the "modern imperial city" of San Francisco as no other 
modern imperial city has been destroyed. If it had not been 
for this stunning disaster to the larger place, the ruin 
of our county seat, Santa Rosa, in which many lives 
were crushed out, would have commanded the attention 
and sympathy of the world. As it was, refugees from the 
Bay metropolis began presently to straggle up-country, 
only to find the pretty town prone in a scarcely laid dust of 
brick and mortar and ashes. 

Jack s nocturnal habits of reading, writing, smoking, 
and coughing, or sudden shifts of posture (he could not 
move his smallest finger without springing alive from head 
to foot), not being exactly a remedy for my insomnia, we 
ordinarily occupied beds as far apart as possible. A few 
minutes before five, on the morning of the 18th, upstairs at 
Wake Robin, my eyes flew open inexplicably, and I wondered 
what had stirred me so early. I curled down for a morning 
nap, when suddenly the earth began to heave, with a sicken 
ing onrush of motion for an eternity of seconds. An abrupt 
pause, and then it seemed as if some great force laid hold 
of the globe and shook it like a Gargantuan rat. It was the 
longest half -minute I ever lived through. 

Now, I am free to confess, I do not like earthquakes. 
Never, child and woman, had I liked earthquakes. But my 



RETURN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 125 

mind had been made up long since that while I wasted time 
being afraid of them, less terrified or at any rate more ob 
servant persons were able to take in phenomena which I 
had missed. And, so help me, when the April 18 quake got 
under way, and though very lonely in the conviction that 
my end was approaching in leaps and bounds, I lay quite 
still, watching the tree-tops thrash crazily, as if all the winds 
of all quarters were at loggerheads. The sharp undula 
tion stopping, Jack and I met our guests, Mr. and Mrs. 
Reimers, in the living-room, and we all had the same tale to 
relate of watching, from our pillows, the possessed antics 
of the trees ; only, all but myself had had a view of the trunks 
rather than the tops. 

When Jack and I ran over to the barn still rented at 
the Fish Ranch, we found our saddle animals had broken 
their halters and were still quivering and skittish. Willie, 
the chore-boy, said the huge madrono tree near by had lain 
down on the ground and got up again which was less lurid 
than many impressions to which we listened that weird day. 

In half an hour after the shock, we were in our saddles, 
riding to the Ranch, from which height could be disting 
uished a mighty column of smoke in the direction of San 
Francisco, and another northward where lies Santa Rosa. 
In the immediate foreground at our feet a prodigious dust 
obscured the buildings of the State Home for the Feeble 
minded. 

"Why, Mate Woman, " Jack cried, his eyes big with 
surmise, "I shouldn t wonder if San Francisco had sunk. 
That was some earthquake. We don t know but the At 
lantic may be washing up at the feet of the Rocky Moun 
tains I" 

Our beautiful barn the shake had disrupted its nearly 
finished two-foot-thick stone walls, and to our horror re 
vealed that the rascally Italian contractor from Sonoma, 
despite reasonable overseeing, had succeeded in rearing 



126 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

mere shells of rock, filling in between with debris of the flim 
siest. Jack s face was a study. 

" Jerry-built, " he murmured, hurt in his voice, "and I 
told him the solid, honest thing I wanted and did not ques 
tion his price. What have I done to him, or anybody, that 
he should do this thing ?" 

He turned his back upon the swindle, for there were 
other things to see; and I could almost vouch that his 
wrecked property did not enter his head for the next sev 
eral days any more than he would bother about a worri 
some letter or problem until the moment came to dispose 
of it. 

"And anyway," he dismissed the subject as we turned 
down-mountain, "it s lucky the heavy tile roof wasn t al 
ready placed, and some poor devil sleeping under it ! " 

One day, weeks afterward, the Italian had the ill-con 
sidered "nerve" to call at "Jack s House." I remember 
that we were showing the work-room to the Winships. At 
the knock, Jack turned and recognized the contractor. Fac 
ing back to me, he said in a low, vibrating tone : Mate, will 
you attend to him? send him away, as quickly as possible!" 
Never fear that I did not do that same. Once outside, I 
said to the man: "You must get out of here qwckl" And 
when he started to whine a remonstrance, I repeated, with 
glance over-shoulder: "Quick! Get out! And don t ever 
come back ! 

Back to breakfast, after reconnoitering the neighborhood 
as far as the State Home, where, through the perfect dis 
cipline, no lives had been sacrificed, we prepared to board 
the first train to Santa Kosa, hoping to find another to 
San Francisco in the afternoon. And the trains ran, 
though not on time, what of twisted rails and litter of fallen 
water-tanks along the roadway. Eeports of the Great Fire 
and broken water-mains in San Francisco made us long 
to be in at the incredible disaster, so long as it had to be. 

With no luggage except our smallest hand-bag, which 



RETURN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 127 

we left with the restaurant cashier of the last ferry-boat 
permitted to land passengers that night, we started afoot 
up old Broadway, and all night roamed the city of hills, prey 
to feelings that cannot be described. That night proved 
our closest to realizing a dream that came now and 
again to Jack in sleep, that he and I were in at the finish 
of all things standing or moving hand in hand through 
chaos to its brink, looking upon the rest of mankind in the 
process of dissolution. 

Having located relatives I knew had been overtaken, and 
found them unharmed, Jack and I were free to follow our 
own will. 

"And I ll never write about this for anybody, " he de 
clared, as we looked our last upon one or another familiar 
haunt, soon to be obliterated by the ravaging flames that 
drove us ever westward to safer points, on and on, in our 
ears the muffled detonations of dynamite, as one proud com 
mercial palace after another sank on its steel knees, in the 
desperate attempt of the city fathers to stay the wholesale 
conflagration. And no water. 

No, Jack reiterated. * * I 11 never write a word about 
it. What use trying? One could only string big words to 
gether, and curse the futility of them." 

One impinging picture of those fearful hours was where 
two mounted officers, alone of all the population, sat their 
high-crested horses at Kearney and Market Streets, eques 
trian statues facing the oncoming flames along Kearney. 
Hours earlier, we had walked here, two of many; but now 
the district was abandoned to destruction that could not 
be retarded. 

In my eyes there abides the face of a stricken man, per 
haps a fireman, whom we saw carried into a lofty doorway 
in Union Square. His back had been broken, and as the 
stretcher bore him past, out of a handsome, ashen young 
face, the dreadful darkening eyes looked right into mine. 
All the world was crashing about him and he, a broken thing, 



128 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

with death awaiting him inside the granite portals, gazed 
upon the last woman of his race that he was ever to see. 
Jack, with tender hand, drew me away. 

Oh, the supreme ruth of desolation and pain, that night 
of fire and devastation ! Yet the miracle persists, that one 
saw nothing but cheerful courtesy of one human to another. 
And I was to learn more of my mate s cool judgment in 
crises. Now and again it seemed as if we would surely be 
trapped in some square, where the fourth side had started 
to burn. But he had always, and accurately, sensed and 
chosen the moment and the way out, when we should have 
seen all we could risk. 

Toward morning, finding ourselves in the entryway of 
a corner house on "Nob Hill" very near the partially- 
erected and already-ignited Hotel Fairmont, Jack fell into a 
doze; but I was unable to still the tingling of heart and 
nerves long enough to drop off even from exhaustion. 
Presently a man mounted the steps and inserted a key in 
the lock. Seeing Jack and myself on the top tread he had 
had to pick his way through a cluster of Italians and China 
men on the lower ones something impelled him to invite 
us in. It was a luxurious interior, containing the treasures 
of years. His name was Ferine, the man said, and he did 
not learn ours. Suddenly, midway of showing us about, he 
asked me to try the piano, and laid bare the keys. I hesi 
tated it seemed almost a cruel thing to do, with anni 
hilation of his home so very near. But Jack s whispered 
"Do it for him it s the last time he ll ever hear it," 
sent me to the instrument. The first few touches were 
enough and too much for Mr. Ferine, however, and he made 
a restraining gesture. If he ever reads this book, I want 
him to know that none in poor racked San Francisco that 
week was more sorry for him than we. 

We must have tramped forty miles that night. Jack s 
feet blistered, my ankles were become almost useless, when 



EETUBN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 129 

next day we sat on a convenient garbage can at Seventh and 
Broadway, Oakland, waiting for a street car out Telegraph 
Avenue. A pretty young woman accosted the dilapidated 
pair we made, with information that food and shelter would 
be supplied us refugees at such-and-such address, and 
laughed pleasedly when we thanked her and said we had an 
uninjured place of our own. Oakland had suffered com 
paratively little from the quake, and there were few fires. 
Jack of course had ascertained, before we went to San Fran 
cisco, that his mother and his children were safe and sound, 
with roofs over their heads. 

In Glen Ellen once more, we were met with frantic tele 
grams from Collier s Weekly, asking for twenty-five hun 
dred words, by wire, descriptive of San Francisco. Jack, 
still averse to undertake the compressing of his impressions, 
or, as he had said, writing at all on the subject, yet con 
sidered his now aggravated money-need, with the yacht 
and barn-rebuilding in view. And Collier s had offered him 
twenty-five cents a word by far the best figure he had yet 
received. It was, I may as well note here, the highest he 
ever obtained. 

Shaking his bonny shoulders free of all else, that 
very day he jumped into the twenty-five hundred word 
article. Hot from his hand I snatched the scribbled sheets, 
and swiftly typed them. Our team-work soon delivered the 
story over the wires, and "just for luck" Jack mailed the 
manuscript simultaneously. Followed wild daily messages 
from Collier s for a week to come : " Why doesn t your story 
arrive V 9 il Must have your story immediately, and, latest, 
"Holding presses at enormous expense. What is the mat 
ter? Must have story for May Fifth number. " 

It seems that the telegraph companies were able to get 
service through to the Pacific Coast, but not the reverse. 
The posted manuscript was received in the nick of time, 



130 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

while the wired one straggled along subsequently to the 
other s appearance in the May 5th issue. 

Jack, it is only fair to record, entertained the poorest 
opinion of his description. It s the best stagger I can 
make at an impossible thing, " is the way he put it. And 
here is an excerpt from a letter to George Sterling, dated 
May 31: 

"Hopper s article in Everybody s is great. Best story of the 
Quake I ve seen. My congratulations to him." 

Fifteen days after the Earthquake, we treated ourselves 
to a two-weeks holiday. Jack bestrode Ban. Belle, oc 
cupied with maternal prospects, I passed by in favor of 
the rabbity Fleet. Hatless, with toilet accessories and read 
ing matter stowed in saddle-bags behind our Australian 
saddles, we set out northerly to see what the quake had 
wreaked upon rural California. At this and that resort, 
we would feel one or another of the many lighter temblors 
that followed the big shake, marking the subsidence of the 
"Fault" that is supposed to enter from the sea-bed at Fort 
Bragg, and zigzag southeasterly across the State. 

Jack, his rumpled poll sun-burned yellow, was a brave 
and lovesome sight on his merry steed, whose burnished 
chestnut coat threw out lilac gleams as the satiny muscles 
moved in the sunlight. The rider threw himself with vim 
into our little adventure. He was never tired exploring 
with me the nooks of Sonoma County, where Belle and 
I had been familiar figures before he came to dwell with 
us. And we always found so many common topics to dis 
cuss, and parallels in our lives. Why, old man Tarwater. 
immortalized in one of the very last stories Jack ever 
wrote ("Like Argus of the Olden Times," published in 
1919 in volume entitled "The Red One"), had been the sub 
ject of one of my Aunt s newspaper articles. I had accom 
panied her, years before Jack met Tarwater in Klondike, on 
a pilgrimage to his mountain cabin, and sketched that abode 



RETURN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 131 

and himself for an illustration. And there were our teachers 
in Oakland, Mrs. Harriet J. Lee and her daughter Elsie we 
had both sat under these charming women, Jack in High 
School, and I in Sunday school at Plymouth Avenue Church 
on Thirty-fourth Street. It was deliciously preposterous, 
this lining up of our mutual experiences. 

Not a tap of work did we perform on this real vacation. 
There is ample material in my brain for a readable book, in 
that idyllic journey through one of California s most attrac 
tive regions, unadvertised and undreamed to the casual 
tourist. Although I may not relate the details, still, for 
the guidance of any whose interest in Jack London s mazy 
trail might lead them into these western fastnesses of great 
beauty and geological interest, I present the route our 
nimble horses bore us: 

From Glen Ellen, by Rincon Valley road, through Petri 
fied Forest, to Calistoga, in Napa Valley. Calistoga to The 
Geysers. Thence to Lakeport, on Clear Lake a little 
Geneva by way of Highland Springs. We sailed on Clear 
Lake. 

Lakeport to Ukiah, via Laurel Dell, Blue Lakes. Ukiah 
to Willitts. Through grandeurs of mountain and red 
wood forest, to logging camp "Alpine." Thence to Fort 
Bragg, on the Coast. 

From Fort Bragg, down the coast, sleeping at lumber 
villages. Navarro, Albion, Greenwood. Thence to Boon- 
ville, with luncheon at Philo. Philo to Cloverdale ; thence 
to Burke s Sanitarium. Thence to Santa Rosa, and on 
down to Glen Ellen. 

Jack, consciously or unconsciously, had studied the 
brain-processes of animals since the days of his little dog 
Rollo in Oakland. On this long ride, the difference, which 
is all the difference in the world, which he noticed between 
Fleet and Ban on our return, was that one was tired and 



132 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

showed it, and the other, Thoroughbred, keyed to the utter 
most step, was tired and did not know it. But when Jack, 
after unsaddling, had placed an extra large measure of oats 
before the splendid creature, the velvet nozzle went down 
with a great, blowing sigh. Brown Wolf, wriggling prodigi 
ously, came to bury dumb, eloquent head between his idol 
ized master s knees, after which, with a shake of rolling fur 
hide, he went to poke his nose into Ban s fodder, taking a 
generous mouthful, to our astonishment and the horse s 
snorting disapproval. Then, our fingers interlaced, we 
two dusty wayfarers trudged across to Wake Eobin, happier 
and richer by another united experience. 

Near the end of the month, during our absence of two 
days in Oakland to attend a rousing Euskin Club dinner in 
Jack s honor, Willie one night left Ban out in the Fish 
Eanch pasture, where he became entangled in a loose strand 
of that accursed invention, barbed wire, which had eluded 
our vigilance. Hour upon hour, the poor, helpless thing 
sawed one of his beautiful, fleet hind legs to the bone. It 
was a sad homecoming to us, and in consultation beside 
our drooping, ruined pet we decided he must die. Jack 
said, his eyes dark with sorrow: 

"Wiget, I ll do it if I have to; but I don t want to. If 
you don t mind too much ..." And Wiget had to avert 
his face as he replied: "I ll do it for you folks." 

In a hammock at the Lodge we sat knowing we could not 
fail to hear the shot that would be the ending of our willing 
and beloved friend. Jack had carefully instructed his man 
to deposit the charge in the middle of the forehead, where 
cross-lines drawn from ears to eyes would intersect. When 
the sound of the shot rang across the waiting stillness, we 
wept unrestrained and unabashed in each other s arms. All 
I could think of to solace Jack was to offer him the gift of 
my own new filly, Sonoma Maid, granddaughter of the great 
Morella, which Belle, in the fullness of her time and in our 
absence, had presented to me. 



KETURN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 133 

I remember, once, on a steamer voyage, that a fine 
horse injured during a rough night had to be killed. A 
lamentable botch was made of the execution, and I never 
saw Jack London worse upset than he was over the reports 
of the animal s inexcusably hard death. "If they d only 
learn how to do a thing like that in the right way!" he 
exclaimed, thrashing about in his chair in a manner he 
had when suffering mentally. 

A preverted order of humaneness, often displayed by 
unthinking persons, always came in for harsh language 
from Jack. "Men who brag of being too tender-hearted 
to kill an aged and suffering animal, or a hopelessly- 
wounded or sick one," he would rave," I don t know any 
thing too bad for them. Why don t people think!" And 
again : "The only way to kill a cat is to chop off its head," 
he preached. "Death is instantaneous, when the spinal 
cord is severed. Drowning, and suffocation by chloroform, 
are two of the cruelest methods you can use on a cat. The 
other way means instantaneous death, with no terrors of 
strangulation. Some people think I m brutal to advise this, 
but the thing is self-evident oh, what s the use ! " he would 
surrender in disgust. In illustration of indirect brutality, 
he told me of something he had done during a short camp 
ing expedition, in 1904, with "The Crowd," on the deserted 
Kendall Ranch in Grizzly Canyon, near Moraga Valley. 

The last tenants had left some time previously, and 
were too sensitive and kind-hearted to lay away the family 
dog, a large collie, I think Jack said, who was tottering, 
from starvation, too old to hunt for himself. "Nobody 
else wanted the job of shooting him," Jack went on, "and 
it was up to me. You know how I love to kill things," he 
interpolated with a wry mouth. "I got the shotgun ready, 
and went toward that poor dog, and he crouched when he 
saw me coming. God! no one will ever know how I shrank 
from that self-imposed task. That dog knew his poor 
old eyes looked straight into mine and did not waver but 



134 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

the knowledge of death was in them. He d been out with a 
gun too much in his life not to know what it meant when 
one was aimed at a living creature. . . . Oh, yes, I got it 
done first charge . . . He never moved after he dropped. 

Jack was capable of such adorable ways. One after 
noon, that summer of 1906, he and I, with Manyoungi s help 
were sorting over old possessions, making ready long in 
advance for our voyage. The Korean came upon my old 
French doll, an adult-appearing, jointed model with six 
inches of "real" hair. Lifting it tenderly, reverence in 
his handsome olive face, the boy carried it to Jack, who 
was talking to himself amidst a tumbled mountain of 
dusty books he invariably talked and hummed when doing 
work of this kind or filing letters. And Jack, with a dewy 
look in his great eyes, held out both grimy hands for the 
relic, and kissed it! The act was devoid of affectation 
just a spontaneous expression of all the complication 
of his love. "The little woman s doll!" was all he said, re 
turning to his work with an odd smile deepening the pic 
tured corners" of his mouth. . . . Once, "after long grief 
and pain, in rare abandon he had pressed those lips to the 
hem of my garment. 

Even from so brief an absence as the riding jaunt, our 
duties had piled up, and we were rushing all hours except 
for the swimming, rides to the Ranch, the campfire gather 
ings, moonlight romps and games, with boxing, fencing, 
kiting, and what not, in the camps of the Connings, the 
Selbys, the Brecks, the Reynolds, and my own summering 
families. 

Blowing soap-bubbles was popular for a time, and cer 
tain long-stemmed Korean pipes, among Jack s "loot" 
from the orient, came into novel requisition. There were 
debates of evenings in the Lodge, to which the older campers 
were invited, in which the materialist monist, Jack London, 
was somewhat unwillingly pitted against Mr. Edward B. 



BETUB-N TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 135 

Payne, a far older man whom Jack styled "metaphysi 
cian." I should have said attempted debate, for the same 
familiar stumbling-block was encountered that had dis 
rupted earlier discussions whenever Jack and the meta 
physicians locked horns : Jack could not and would not ac 
cept the premise offered; and after several futile efforts 
of the instigators of the meetings, to ease him surrepti 
tiously over the first stages of the argument, the debates 
were discontinued. 

"Edward s got a beautiful mind, and he s the most 
logical rhetorician I ever met in my whole life, Jack would 
defend himself; "but when, in his reasoning, he comes to 
the enchanted bridge he has tried to build, on which I am 
supposed to reject my solid foundation and step across to 
his metaphysical one, I revolt." Martin Luther s "Here I 
stand. I can do no otherwise, so help me God ! Amen ! was 
no less firm than Jack London s "I can t help it. I am so 
made. I can t see it any other way. I ve got to keep my 
feet on the concrete." 

I have seen him quite white with distress that he had to 
spoil a party by depriving guests of the spectacle of him 
self routed from his materialistic terra firma and driven 
upon the impalpable ground of the metaphysicians with 
their, to him, "colossal evasions of mundane interpreta 
tions," as our friend Mary Wilshire puts it. "Each of 
you," he said, "goes into his own consciousness to explain 
anything and everything." Again, "The metaphysician 
explains the universe by himself, the scientist explains him 
self by the universe." Jack believed that the keenest and 
most irresistible impulses toward self-preservation are 
shown by what he termed metaphysicians. "Take the 
earthquake, for instance," he would rail. "You and I, 
and an infidel artist, remained in our beds until well after 
the shock. And when we emerged, where did we find the 
metaphysicians of the household? Out of doors, in un 
seemly attire, and unable to tell how they got there, but, 



136 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

from circumstantial evidence, having arrived on the un 
stable earth by way of a first-story window ! y 

There were swimming visits exchanged that year with 
our neighbors the Kudolf Spreckelses and a bevy of Mrs. 
Spreckels s sisters, the Misses Joliffe ; and once we went to 
to Napa to see the Winships. But Jack, as a rule, was not 
fond of visiting, and occasionally was heard to remark that 
the Winships and the Sterlings were practically the only 
friends to whose houses he went, and these at wide intervals. 
He preferred, in short, to entertain rather than to be enter 
tained. 

At times, but rarely, he would treat himself to a holiday, 
perhaps to read aloud a book that had claimed him for the 
moment, or to take some special jaunt. But the fingers of 
one hand could easily tally the days when he failed to 
deliver ten pages of hand-written manuscript to my type 
writer desk. It was my custom to have his previous 
day s instalment, typed and words counted, in readiness 
upon his table by nine. He loved to read me his morn 
ing s work and even in the writing of it, if I happened 
to pass by, would interrupt himself to let me share what he 
had done. The first writing day, in all our days, that this 
did not happen, was the first day upon which he wrote no 
more. 

Evidently this life of closely-wedged activities was quite 
to my taste, for at the end of one date s diary-items I see : 
1 Happy as an angel !" This may, however, have been 
when I had won from Jack some praise or especial appre 
ciation; but he was wont ruefully to utter that my finest 
heights of bliss were attained when I had beaten him at 
cards (which was seldom enough to justify chortling), 
or won a bet upon the weather ranging anywhere from ten 
cents to ten dollars. 

Another and sweeter source of happiness to me would be 
when I had played an hour for him while he sat or reclined, 
one hand over his eyes, dreaming upon a couch in Auntie s 



RETURN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 137 

cool living-room. The music he then oftenest asked for was 
Arthur Footers Rubaiyat Suite, and much of Macdowell 
"The Eagle " and "Sea Pieces " remaining favorites. His 
disposition those days was almost always equable, and I 
learned to circumvent the blues he had once forewarned he 
might be subject to upon the day of completing a long man 
uscript. On June 7, he laid down his ink-pencil for the last 
time on "Before Adam," first writing in my count of 40,863 
words. But there was little or no depression to follow. I 
had seen to that, by planning a string of overlapping en 
gagements for the day, which left him no moment for relax 
ing until sleep-time was at hand. Oh, no never did I cheat 
myself into believing that he did not see through my mach 
inations; rather, did he cooperate but no word jarred 
the moment s harmony. 

Have I mentioned that he was fond of ordering adver 
tised articles! "And if one out of ten proves a real find, 
I am repaid for my time and money !" was his argument. 
Many were the packages, great and small, that enlivened 
our morning mail during preparation for the small-boat voy 
age ; for whether emanating from " ad " or catalogue, Jack 
meant to leave nothing behind that would contribute to the 
venture s success. Fishing tackle of the most alluring; num 
berless strings of beads, and loose beads by the gross, of all 
sizes and hues to gladden savage hearts that beat under the 
Southern Cross ; gay neckerchiefs and calicoes and ribbons 
nothing was omitted. And the fun we, like veriest chil 
dren, had opening our "Christmas packages" from day 
to day, can best be imagined. 

Early in our comradeship I had noted Jack s habit of 
looking ahead, not back. "Leave retrospect to old men 
and women. The world is all before me now," was his 
pose toward the dead past. While this remained a charac 
teristic, the general normal happiness of his new environ 
ment rendered him less averse to dwelling upon his yes 
terdays. As our united yesterdays lengthened in our 



138 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

shadow, he became as fondly addicted as I to reminiscence 
of them. 

Before me, as I write with his own pen, lies a clipping 
referring to "The Iron Heel," which begins: "In one of 
Jack London s less important works, there was a descrip 
tion of a pitched battle in Chicago, in the near future, by 
way of quelling what would now be called a Bolshevist revo 
lution." And the commentator adds: "Now the battle 
is going on in Berlin." Beside the clipping reposes a let 
ter to me from a sociologist, from which I quote as refuta 
tion of the other s phrase, "less important works": 

"The earlier portion of the book is the most impressive, 
the most unanswerable impeachment of the capitalist sys 
tem to be found in all the voluminous sociological literature 
of our times." 

And I feel free to quote Mr. George P. Brett, President 
of The Macmillan Company, who published the book : 

"I consider The Iron Heel the greatest compendium 
of Socialism ever written." 

From week to week, in these stirring days of reconstruc 
tion following the World War, there come to me, alone 
upon Jack London s mountainside, appreciations from all 
classes concerning "The Iron Heel," once hated and de 
rided and feared by the factions most opposed to one an 
other. Jack had gone to work upon it that midsummer of 
1906, placing some of its scenes round-about "the sweet 
land" in which he had elected to dwell. When the manu 
script later failed to find place in any paying magazine, and 
saw book-covers, in 1907 during the "panic," mainly be 
cause the publishers held a blanket contract bearing Jack 
London s sprawling signature, the poor author said regret 
fully one day in Hawaii : 

"I thought it would be timely, that book; but they re all 
afraid of it, Mate Woman." He pointed to letters just 



EETUBN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 139 

received from the States : See : the socialists, even my own 
crowd, have thrown me down they decry it as a lugubrious 
prophecy; and the other camp, of course, revile it as they 
revile everything socialistic they possibly can of mine. 

"But," he broke in heatedly upon his reverie, "I didn t 
write the thing as a prophecy at all. I really don t think 
these things are going to happen in the United States. I 
believe the increasing socialist vote will prevent hope for 
it, anyhow. But I will say that I sent out, in The Iron 
Heel/ a warning of what I think might happen if they don t 
look to their votes. That s all." 

In the copy he gave me is written : "We that have been 
what we Ve been. . . . We that have seen what we ve seen 
we may not see these particular things come to pass, but cer 
tain it is that we shall see big things of some sort come to 
pass." 

In the light of present events, the story would seem to 
have been more than roughly prophetic ; and the end, may 
hap, is not yet. 

The phrase "well-balanced radicals" came to be a pet 
aversion of Jack s for the rest of his life. For, outside of 
the capitalist class, it was the self -named "well-balanced 
radicals," who would have none of his "Iron Heel." 

Yet it was one of these, after Jack London s death, who 
wrote me: "The earlier portion of the book is the most 
impressive, the most unanswerable impeachment of the 
capitalist system to be found in all the voluminous socio 
logical literature of our times. I have read many severe 
criticisms of capitalist procedure, but this cuts deeper and 
cleaner than they all." 

4 The Iron Heel, once finished and started on its round 
of the magazines, Jack s next contemplated book was a 
group of tramping episodes, brought out serially as "My 
Life in the Underworld, and, in book-form, The Road. 

Two paragraphs from Jack s letters to George Sterling, 



140 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

of dates February 17, 1908, and March 3, 1909, throw 
illumination upon his open attitude toward his past : 

"I can t get a line on why you wish I hadn t written The 
Boad, " he challenges. "It is all true. It is what I am, 
what I have done, and it is part of the process by which 
I have become. Is it a lingering taint of the bourgeois in 
you that makes you object? Is it because of my shameless- 
ness! For having done things in which I saw or see no 
shame! Do tell me." 

And this : 

"Your point about The Boad, namely that it gave the 
mob a mop to bang me with. What of it! I don t care 
for the mob. It can t hurt me. One word of censure or 
disapproval from you would hurt me a few million myriads 
of billions times more than all the sum total the mob would 
inflict on me in one hundred and forty-seven lifetimes. I 
thank the Lord I don t live for the mob." 

This seems the place to point Jack s intolerance of 
restricted or anachronistic vision, by quoting further from 
letters to Sterling. The latter sat between the horns of 
a dilemma with regard to his two closest friends Jack 
London and Ambrose Bierce, who were as far apart as 
the poles in their philosophies. Because Jack had experi 
enced certain phases of living which were untenable to the 
satirist s niceties, the latter seemed entirely to discount the 
younger author as one entitled to consideration in the 
brotherhood of polite society. In short, after he had read 
"The Eoad," Mr. Bierce was emphatic in his opinion con 
cerning what summary disposal should be made of Jack. 
But Jack, with a generosity and lack of bitterness which 
would have well become the elder man, wrote Sterling : 

"For heaven s sake don t you quarrel with Ambrose 
about me. He s too splendid a man to be diminished be 
cause he has lacked access to a later generation of science. 
He crystallized before you and I were born, and it is too 
magnificent a crystallization to quarrel with." 



RETURN TO OAKLAND; EARTHQUAKE 141 

Earlier letters to Sterling amplify Jack s contention, 
and his own up-to-the-mark step with the marching world : 

"If Hillquit and Hunter didn t put it all over Bierce I ll 
quit thinking at all. Bierce s clever pessimism was no 
where against their science. He proved himself rudderless, 
compassless, and chartless. Bierce doesn t shine in a face 
to face battle with socialists. He s beat at long range sling 
ing ink. He was groggy at the drop of the hat, and before 
they got done with him was looking anxiously around and 
wondering why the gong didn t ring. All he did was to 
back and fill and potter around, dogmatize and contradict 
himself. When they cornered him, he went off on another 
tack, wherefore they d overtake him and lambaste him 
again. Bierce, with biological and sociological concepts 
that crystallized in the fervant heat of pessimism a genera 
tion ago, was well, pathetic. And more pathetic still, he 
doesn t know it. 

"I wouldn t care to lock horns with Bierce," is a later 
reference. "He stopped growing a generation ago. Of 
course, he keeps up with the newspapers, but his criteria 
crystallized 30 odd years ago. Had he been born a genera 
tion later he d have been a socialist, and, more likely, an 
anarchist. He never reads books that aren t something like 
a hundred years old, and he glories in the fact ! 

The latest remarks I find, in the same correspondence, 
are these written from Hilo, Hawaii, in July of 1907 : 

The quotes from Ambrose were great. What a pen he 
wields. Too bad he hasn t a better philosophic founda 
tion. " 



CHAPTER XXX 

SNARK VOYAGE 
End 1906; 1907-8-9 

THE Great Earthquake proved very expensive to Jack 
London. Primarily because of it, the yacht-building, 
which he had calculated would cost seven thousand dollars, 
or at most ten, incredibly squandered some thirty thousand. 
The iron keel was to have been run on the very evening of 
the Earthquake, April 18. Following that event (which we 
of California are averse to term an " Act of God, " much less 
one of a beneficent Providence), what Jack should have 
done, too late he came to see, was to look around for a ready- 
built hull. At almost any time before the World War, fine 
deep-water yachts could be picked up on the Atlantic sea 
board at a tithe of their original cost. In future years, after 
the abandonment of our voyage, Jack pored over many a 
blue-print received from agents in the east, of well-ap 
pointed vessels that could be had for mere songs. 

No man born of woman could forecast the insur 
mountable anarchy that the post-quake and fire-havoc 
wrought in building conditions. I shall leave it to the 
reader to guess at the inwardness of our spirit-trial, so 
lightly sketched in the first article ("The Inconceivable and 
Monstrous ") of the nineteen, including Foreward and Back- 
word, that compose Jack London s "The Cruise of the 
Snark." This collection relates, in more or less discon 
nected fashion, a few of the main happenings and observa 
tions incident to the cruise. My own book, I wish to mention 
here, "The Log of the Snark," also published by The Mac- 
millan Company, gives, as its name implies, the consecutive 

142 



SNARK VOYAGE 143 

journal from the day before we sailed from San Francisco 
until we returned to California. There is one exception to 
the foregoing statement. My two-years diary being too 
protracted for one volume, the five-months experiences 
ashore in the Hawaiian Islands, together with the general 
details of our 1915 and 1916 visits, form a bulky book by 
themselves, which also appears under the Macmillan im 
print. This volume I have revised and brought up to date 
for a new edition in 1921. Jack, aside from his incomplete 
Snark record, as above, devoted himself to fiction, which I 
name below, inspired by the Pacific and its enchanting isles, 
irrespective of other books in which incidents from his South 
Sea lore appear, such as "Michael Brother of Jerry, " 
" Martin Eden," "The Bed One," and others. Here are 
the strictly tropical ones : 

"Adventure," novel, 1911. 

"South Sea Tales, "1911. 

"The House of Pride," 1912. 

"A Son of the Sun, "1912. 

"Jerry of the Islands," 1918. 

The opening adjuration in "The Inconceivable and 
Monstrous sounds the note adhered to by Jack throughout 
the construction and manning of the little ship that was, 
we fondly believed, to be our home for indefinite years of 
adventure. "Spare no expense" was the slogan he im 
pressed upon his lieutenant, Roscoe. And no matter what 
exasperation followed, "gipsy heart to gipsy heart," un 
daunted Jack and I traced our route upon a sizable world- 
globe bought for our future library. 

In the end, allowing for all the heartbreaking wastage 
and plain graft that sent the yacht, half a year late, an un 
finished, internal wreck upon the high seas to Honolulu, 
still was she, with her sturdy sticks and her ribs of oak, 
pronounced by that master-small-boat-sailor, Jack London, 
the strongest vessel of her proportions ever launched 



144 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"Stronger, even, I tell you," he held, "than the Goya, that 
made the Northwest Passage. " 

Be it known, once and for all, this point having been 
airily misrepresented for years, that every human being of 
the Snark s complement of seven, except Jack London and 
myself, who worked to pay them every soul, I say, was 
drawing a salary for work performed or unperformed dur 
ing that crazy traverse of 2200 miles to Honolulu. From 
every class of society over the wide world we thought to cir 
cumnavigate doctors, lawyers, beggarmen, chiefs, thieves, 
multimillionaires, sailors single and in crews, poets, his 
torians, geologists, painters, doctors of divinity in short, 
men, women and children of every color and occupation, 
wrote or telegraphed or paid us calls, imploring to sail on 
any terms, or none. They even appealed for the privilege 
of paying lavishly for the privilege. One there was who 
wrote: "I can assure you that I am eminently respectable, 
but find other respectable people tiresome. " Since he ex 
pressed an overwhelming desire to be of our party, we 
could not but wonder exactly what he meant ! 

But Jack was no fool. Whosoever joined the Snark 
should do so upon a stated salary, and there could be no re 
criminations. Inconceivably and monstrously, there were 
recriminations, despite the precautionary measures. When 
all but one of our first company returned to San Fran 
cisco before we had left Hawaii for the equator, the menda 
cious papers flashed reports that there had been violence fol 
lowing disagreements during the first lap of the cruise. Jack 
London his own Sea Wolf, was the implication, of course; 
and what could Jack do but grind his teeth, and then laugh : 
"They can all go to blazes! You and I know better; and 
what really counts is you and me ! 

Disagreements there had been but I employ the wrong 
word; for it was an agreement, quietly arrived at between 
Jack and his sailing master before Honolulu was sighted, 
that the latter should go home at his leisure from that port. 




FROM RIGHT TO LEFT JACK LONDON, LUTHER BURBANK (Plant 
Wizard), PROFESSOR EIKiAR LUOIEN LARKIN (Astronomer) 




1900. JATK ON THE WAY TO LUTHER BTTRBANK S 



SNARK VOYAGE 145 

A younger member of the party decided to return to college ; 
while our Japanese cabin boy, Tochigi, failed to conquer an 
incorrigible seasickness. So these two, also, went back to 
California. 

It all boils down to the fact, well-established in Jack s 
mind and my own from our incredulous observations of 
lack of discipline and neglect of property "appalled and 
bewildered " my diary states our emotions that those who 
deserted the Snark merely discovered they had been mis 
taken in thinking sea-adventure was what their natures 
craved. The details of certain unfairness to Jack that 
were so blindly practised, I omit. However inclined to 
garrulousness I may be on Jack s behalf, I do want to be 
fair enough to all of them in their blindness, largely to 
lay the blame, as already hinted, to the chaotic circum 
stances under which the boat was built. This, in the last 
analysis, had worn out the patience, the grit, and the in 
dubitably feeble adventure-lust that had been the reason 
for their engaging in the enterprise. 

I think the difference between them and ourselves was 
that Jack and I knew what we wanted, and in unison over 
took it in spite of colossal odds from all sides; while the 
others simply had mistaken their desires. The secret of 
finding our rainbows ends always, I am sure, lay first 
and last in our knowledge of what we wanted. The longest 
search never palled, because the search was an end in 
itself. Of one of our men, who had failed to fill even 
the berth of a preceding failure, Jack said: "He caught a 
glimpse, in some metallic, cog-like way, of the spirit of 
Adventure, and he thought to woo her Adventure, who 
must be served whole-souled and single-hearted and with 
the long patience that is so terrible that very few are capable 
of it." 

But I am ahead of my narrative : 

Early in the year, with the framework of the yacht just 
begun, Jack had written to a magazine the letter given be- 



146 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

low, outlining the purposed voyage and offering a chance 
at the story of the cruise. 

Here let me remark that a leading reason for the in 
clusion of this correspondence is to emphasize the exact 
proposition which Jack London made. This, in turn, be 
cause, following his death, one journalist, in an otherwise 
gracious and well-meaning article, created, unintentionally 
I wish to believe, a misapprehension in the minds of his 
many readers as to happenings in connection with the ar 
rangement for the boat-articles. During a call with which 
this writer honored the Jack London Ranch after Jack s 
passing, I threatened that I should, in all friendliness, go 
after him in the open when I should write this book ; and he, 
with entire good-nature, gave me his blessing to "go to it 
and do the worst." 

Here is the opening letter. The italics are mine, guided 
by marginal markings of Jack s: 

"Feb. 18/06. 
"Dear : 

The keel is laid. The boat is to be 45 feet long. It would 
have been a little bit shorter had I not found it impossible 
to squeeze in a bathroom otherwise. I sail in October. 
Hawaii is the first port of call; and from there we shall 
wander through the South Seas, Samoa, Tasmania, New 
Zealand, Australia, New Guinea, and up through the Philip 
pines to Japan. Then Korea and China, and on down to 
India, Bed Sea, Mediterranean, Black Sea and Baltic, and 
on across the Atlantic to New York, and then around the 
Horn to San Francisco. ... I shall certainly put in a win 
ter in St. Petersburg, and the chances are that I shall go up 
the Danube from the Black Sea to Vienna, and there isn t 
a European country in which I shall not spend from one to 
several months. This leisurely fashion will obtain through 
out the whole trip. I shall not be in a rush ; in fact, I calcu 
late seven (7) years at least will be taken up by the trip. 

1 This boat is to be sailed by one friend and myself. There 



SNAEK VOYAGE 147 

are no sailors. My wife accompanies me. Of course, I ll 
take a cook along, and a cabin boy ; but these will be Asiatics, 
and will have no part in the sailorizing. [The ultimate per 
sonnel of the crew was rearranged.] The rig of the boat 
will be a compromise between a yawl and a schooner. It 
will be what is called the ketch-rig the same rig that is used 
by the English fishing-boats on the Dogger Bank. 

Shall, however, have a small engine on board to be used 
only in case of emergency, such as in bad water among reefs 
and shoals, where a sudden calm in a fast current leaves a 
sailing-boat helpless. Also, this engine is to be used for an 
other purpose. When I strike a country, say Egypt or 
France, I ll go up the Nile or the Seine by having the mast 
taken out, and under power of the engine. I shall do this a 
great deal in the different countries, travel inland and live 
on board the boat at the same time. There is no reason at 
all why I shouldn t in this fashion come up to Paris, and 
moor alongside the Latin Quarter, with a bow-line out to 
Notre Dame and a stern-line fast to the Morgue. 

Now to business. I shall be gone a long time on this 
trip. No magazine can print all I have to write about it. 
On the other hand, it cannot be imagined that I shall write 
50,000 words on the whole seven years, and then quit. As it 
is, the subject matter of the trip divides itself up so that 
there will be no clash whatever between any several publi 
cations that may be handling my stuff. For instance, here 
are three big natural, unconflicting divisions: news, indus 
trial, and political articles on the various countries for 
newspapers; fiction; and finally, the trip itself. 

"Now the question arises, if you take the trip itself 

(which will be the cream), how much space will The 

be able to give me! In this connection I may state that 
McClure s and Outing are after me; and, as I am throwing 
my life, seven years of my time, my earning-power as a 
writer of fiction, and a lot of money, into the enterprise, it 
behooves me to keep a sharp lookout on how expenses, etc., 



148 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

are to be met. And one important factor in this connection 
that I must consider, is that of space. 

"And while I am on this matter of space, I may as well 
say that it is granted, always, that I deliver the goods. Of 
course, if my articles turn out to be mushy and inane, 
why I should not expect any magazine to continue publish 
ing them. I believe too much in fair play to be a good busi 
ness man, and if my work be rotten, I d be the last fellow in 
the world to bind any editor to publish it. On the other 
hand, I have a tremendous confidence, based upon all kinds 
of work I have already done, that I can deliver the goods. 
Anybody doubting this has but to read "The People of the 
Abyss" to find the graphic, reportorial way I have of 
handling things. . . . 

"While on this matter of space, I may also state that it 
is not so much the point of how large the space is in a given 
number of magazine, but how long a time the story of the 
trip can run in the magazine. 

Here he inserts a paragraph concerning his abilities to 
furnish good photographic illustrations. And he goes on: 

"... We expect lots of action, and my strong point as 
a writer is that I am a writer of action see all my short 
stories, for instance. Another point is, that while I am a 
writer, I am also a sailor . . . ; and a still further point is, 
that I am an acknowledged and successful writer of sea- 
matter; see The Sea Wolf, The Cruise of the Dazzler, 
and Stories of the Fish Patrol. . . . 

"... Now comes the item of pay. In the first place, 
here is a traveler-correspondent, and traveler-correspond 
ents are usually expensive, because their traveling expenses 
are paid by their employers. But in my case I d pay my own 
traveling expenses. I build my boat, I outfit my boat, and 
I run my boat. . . . So, in whatever conclusion we arrive at, 
it must be stipulated that I receive in advance, in the course 
of the building of the boat, say $3000.00." 

The editor stated his willingness to make the advance; 



SNAEK VOYAGE 149 

and Jack shot back, "All right. We sail October 1," end 
ing the letter, "I m going to turn out some cracker jack 
stuff on this trip ! 

April 3, 1906, is the date of Jack s agreement to "furn 
ish The Magazine a series of exclusive articles de 
scriptive of my voyage in my sailboat, which voyage is to 
extend, if possible, around the world." The number of 
contributions, he stipulated, was not to exceed ten unless 
more were ordered. Jack agreed to supply photographs. 

Meanwhile, he had got under way a proposal to furnish 
land-articles, say upon domestic customs of native peoples, 
for a woman s magazine in the east this in line with re 
marks which I have underscored in letter above quoted. 

Came the Earthquake, and on May 16, he wrote : "You 
ask for my picture alongside the hull. There ain t no hull. 
The iron keel, wooden keel, and stem and a few ribs, are 
standing, and so they have been standing for some time. I 
have not been near the boat yet, and do not expect to go until 
it is practically finished. I am too busy." When the build 
ing had been resumed, Jack put my uncle, who had been for 
himself an enthusiastic boat-builder in his time, and was to 
be sailing-master, upon a salary to superintend the con 
struction. 

In July I find this from Jack to the first magazine : 

"You will have to defer my opening article until the 
November number. I have finally succumbed to the Cali 
fornia earthquake. I find it impossible to get a decent en 
gine this side of New York, and the consequent delay throws 
me back a full month. I shall sail November 1, instead of 
October 1." Later he wrote: "This damned earthquake 
is just beginning to show up the delays it caused. There 
is scarcely a thing we want that we can buy in the local 
market." Then, "We are going to call her the Snark," 
he announced his final choice of a name for the "beautiful 
elliptical stern." His reason was that he could think of no 
other name that suited, and his friends, with bright sug- 



150 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

gestions of "The Call of the Wild," "The Sea Wolf" and 
eke "The Game," had worn him out. He even put it as a 
threat to one and all, that if nothing less silly were forthcom 
ing, Snark she should be this snappy title being chosen 
from Lewis Carroll s "The Hunting of the Snark." 

"I never thought about naming the boat after your 
magazine," he replied to the editor s suggestion. "The 
only objection to that name is, that boats, like horses and 
dogs, should have names of one syllable. Good, sharp, 
strong names, that can never be misheard. There s only 
one thing that would make me change the name Snark to 
that of your magazine, namely, the presentation of the 
Snark to me as an out-and-out present. She is costing me 
$10,000, and by golly, it would be worth $10,000 worth of ad 
vertising to the magazine. In return for such a present," 
(and I can hear Jack s titter as he dictated the outrage 
to me), "not only would I put up with the five-syllable 
name, but l Magazine to be appended. That would make 
eight syllables. Why, I d even take subscriptions and 
advertisements for the magazine as I went along!" 

In September the editor was succeeded by another, and 
I find an amusing item in his first letter to Jack: "The 
correction you ask to be made has been attended to and you 
may rest easy in the assurance that Eoscoe will not be 
misrepresented but will be placed in his true light as a 
1 follower of the science, though not the religion, of one 
Cyrus R. Teed. " For our sailing-master, be it known, 
firmly believed in the Teed cellular cosmogany, and that 
he was to experience the Snark voyage on the inner skin of 
the planet. 

Glancing over these letters, I discover that Jack had 
raised his fiction rate to fifteen cents a word to the maga 
zines, and his story, "Just Meat," (book published in 
"When God Laughs"), was being discussed on this basis. 

There fell more trouble. The editors of the two maga 
zines each tried to "grab the whole show" in their advance 



SNAEK VOYAGE 151 

advertising of their totally different Snark material, and 
Jack, indignant with both for accusing him of bad faith, 
entirely clear in his own head and in his two uncon- 
flicting contracts, was made the sufferer. His retaliation is 
in plain and uncompromising terms. After treating the 
first editor to a few of his opinions of magazine offices, he 
quotes verbatim from his contract with the woman s maga 
zine: " These articles are to be upon home life and social 
conditions in a broad sense of the term, etc., etc." 

Speaking now in connection with contents of foregoing 
paragraph, " he enlarges, "I want to know what in hell you 
think 35,000 words will cover ! Do you think 35,000 words 
will cover a tithe of the boat-trip itself, much less all the 
things I expect to do and see in the course of seven years ! 
. . . Don t you think I ve got a kick coming for the way 
you have advertised me as going around the world for The 

1 . . . hell, everybody thinks you are building my 

boat for me, and paying all my expenses, and giving me a 
princely salary on top of it ... 35,000 words at 10 cents a 
word means $3500.00 and the initial cost of my boat is run 
ning past the $12,000.00 mark, to say nothing of expenses 
of running said boat. . . . Those are the figures up to date, 
and they re still going up. San Francisco is mad. Prices 
have climbed out of sight. I pay $200 for a bit of iron work 
on the boat, that should cost $40.00. Everything is in this 
order. The outlook is now, that I shall not sail before 
January. Weeks go by without a tap of work being done on 
the boat. Can t get the men. All my stuff is coming from 
the east because the earthquake destroyed the local market ; 
and freight is congested." 

On November 1, 1906, Jack wrote again: "Yes, Mr. 

[the new editor s predecessor] did write me upon 

the matter of distributing my cabbages in several baskets, 
and I must confess that he got me rather hot in the collar, 
what of the sized-basket he had furnished me and thought 
would hold all my cabbages the crop of seven years in a 



152 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

35,000-word basket ! I am inclosing you a copy of the letter 
I sent him. . . . Since writing this, I wrote him another 

calling the turn on him for doing just what Mr. [the 

editor of the woman s magazine] had done, namely, claim 
ing everything in sight so far as my seven-years voyage is 
concerned. Your periodical said that practically my total 
output would go to it, concerning lands, people, etc., that I 
would see. The mental processes of editors are beyond me. 

I fought with Mr. for 35,000 words, and couldn t 

get it out of him. 

When the Christmas number of the magazine that was to 
have the story of the voyage came out, containing the first 
of his boat-articles, Jack let loose his "long wolf-howl" 
upon the liberties that had been taken with his copy. " Any 
tyro can cut a manuscript," he storms, "and feel that he is a 
co-creator with the author. But it s hell on the author. 
Not one man in a million, including office-boys, is to be 
found in the magazine office who is able properly to revise 
by elimination the work of a professional author. And the 
men in your office have certainly played ducks and drakes 
with the exposition in the first half of my first boat-article. 
. . . For instance, I have just finished the proofs of Just 
Meat. In one place I have my burglar say, I put the kibosh 
on his time. Some man in your office changed this to, I 
put a crimp in his time. In the first place, crimp is in 
correct in such usage. In the second place, there is nothing 
whatever in the connotation of kibosh that would prevent 
its appearing in the pages of your magazine. Kibosh is 
not vulgar, it is not obscene. Such action is wholly unwar 
ranted and gratitously officious. Did this co-creator of mine, 
in your office, think that he knew what he was doing when 
he made such a ridiculous substitution? And if he does 
think so, why in the dickens doesn t he get in and do the 
whole thing himself? 

"In our contract," he grows hot and hotter, "I take 
your right of revision to consist in rejecting an article as 



SNABK VOYAGE 153 

a whole or in eliminating objectionable phrases. Now I 
have no objection to that. I have no objection to your truck 
ling to Mrs. Grundy, when, for instance, you cut out swear 
words or change go to hell to go to blazes. That s the 
mere shell. In that sort of revision you can have full 
swing; but that is different matter from cutting the heart 
out of my work, such as you did in my first boat-article. 
You made my exposition look like thirty cents. 

"I WEAVE my stuff; you can cut out a whole piece of 
it, but you can t cut out parts of it, and leave mutilated 
parts behind. Just think of it. Wading into my exposition 
and cutting out premises or proofs or anything else just to 
suit your length of an article, or the space, rather, that you 
see fit to give such article. [The editors were succeeding 
each other rapidly about this time, and Jack was quite in 
the dark as to whom, personally, he was addressing.] . . . 
* Don t you see my point f " he urges. * If the whole woven 
thing event, narrative, description is not suitable for 
your magazine, why cut it out cut out the whole thing. I 
don t care. But I refuse to contemplate for one moment 
that there is any man in your office, or in the office of any 
magazine, capable of bettering my art, or the art of any 
other first-class professional writer. 

"Now, I want to give warning right here : I won t stand 
for it. Before I stand for it, I ll throw over the whole 
proposition. If you dare to do this with my succeeding 
articles. ... I ll not send you another line. By golly, 
you ve got to give me a square deal in this matter. Do you 
think for one moment that I ll write my heart (my skilled, 
professional heart, if you please) into my work to have 
you fellows slaughtering it to suit your journalistic tastes? 
Either I m going to write this set of articles, or you re go 
ing to write it, for know right here that I refuse definitely 
and flatly, to collaborate with you or with any one in your 
office. 

"In order that this letter may not go astray, " he winds 



154 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

up, "I am sending copies to each of the three men who, in 
my present hypothesis, I think may possibly be editor . . . 
And I want, at your earliest convenience, an assurance that 
the sort of mutilation I am complaining about, will not occur 
again." 

After an unsatisfactory reply, Jack wrote: "Frankly, 
I d like to call the whole thing off," following this with a 
still warmer letter than his former one, impressing upon 
the editor, "This is the first squabble I ever had in my 
life with a magazine. I hope it will be my last, but I ll 
make it hum while it lasts. 

The upshot of the "squabble" was that the boat articles 
were actually called off, another serial, already under way, 
to be submitted at a still better rate. Jack was well pleased, 
and I was relieved for his sake, as the unsettled state of 
matters both with regard to his work and the exasperating 
Snark progress was very grilling to his nerves. 

Another disappointment we had sustained was the loss 
of Manyoungi. For weeks, with true oriental indirection, 
he had set about making himself dispensable. The only 
motive, Jack convinced himself, was that the boy harbored 
a disinclination to visit the Seven Seas in an inconsequential 
shallop such as to him appeared the small Snark on her 
rickety ways at the shipyard. The heart of the sailor was 
not in his breast. His misbehavior, which had extended into 
every department of his service, culminated one evening 
in a very ludicrous manner. He had all day blatantly 
omitted his habitual address of "Master," substituting 
"Mr. London," or "Boss," with labored variations. His 
bold black eyes and studiedly nonchalant tongue advertised 
bid upon bid for discharge. And still new titles fell from 
his foolish lips, and still "Master" looked up when they be 
came especially if unintentionally funny, and grinned at the 
silly boy, though one could note a peculiar absence of expres 
sion in Jack s gray eyes. For he was sad to lose Manyoungi, 
and in such undignified fashion the perfect servant in so 



SNAEK VOYAGE 155 

many capacities, of whom we were both personally fond 
into the bargain. 

It was the custom each night, when we played our night 
cap game of cards, for Manyoungi to ask what we would 
have to drink grape-juice, or ginger-ale, lemonade, or beer. 
On this evening I was bending apprehensively over the crib- 
bage-board, watching my opponent peg a shocking advan 
tage, when an ominously quiet but impudent voice behind 
me asked: 

"Will God have some beer?" 

The only muscles I moved were in raising my eyes to 
Jack s face. I was braced for anything; words and tone 
were an invitation to wipe up the floor with Manyoungi s 
offending countenance. Jack went pale with surprise ; but 
his sense of humor prevented him from thrashing the 
Korean, as man to man. He was not even angry, properly 
speaking, and I relaxed when, controlling the desire to laugh, 
he said composedly: 

i I do not want anything at all from you, Manyoungi, 
and dealt another hand. 

It meant the breaking of a new man to all the details of 
our complicated requirements, not only in relation to our 
present life, but to the prospective one upon the water. 
Tochigi, a poet-browed Japanese, later to become an or 
dained minister in the Episcopal clergy, came to fill the 
vacancy; and each day s lunch-table was a thing of artistic 
anticipation, for never did the same exquisite floral decora 
tion appear twice. 

Jack forever maintained that there never could be 
equaled Manyoungi s perfect "spirit of service" that ani 
mated his manifold accomplishments. Why, that boy could 
make both Charmian and me ready in half an hour for Tim- 
buctoo ! " he would praise. And it was not far from the fact. 

In a letter to Cloudesley Johns, written in September, is 
a lovely attestation of Jack London s inner contentment 
as regarded the voyage : 



156 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"Nay, I ll not come back in 18 months. Barring boat and 
financial shipwreck, shall be gone for at least seven years. Also, 
shall not come back young again/ I am long since young again. 
You ought to see me, and you ought to have seen me all this 
year at Glen Ellen." 

Curiously enough, eighteen months was practically the 
extent of our actual residence on the Snark, although we 
were absent twenty-seven months altogether. 

In early November, hoping soon to weigh anchor, we 
moved to Oakland, with Mammy Jennie and Tochigi to keep 
house. That month, Jack wrote Cloudesley : 

" Sorrier than the devil; but can t make Los Angeles before I 
sail. And when I sail, I m going to hit the high places for mid 
ocean in order to learn navigation and learn the boat where I ve 
plenty of room. No rockbound coast for me as a starter. A 
thousand miles of offing isn t any too good for me as a starter. . . . 
Dec. 15th is sailing date." 

The first week in December saw the completion of The 
Iron Heel," begun in August, and Jack bent his efforts upon 
the tramp series. That done, too restless to concentrate 
upon another long stretch, he wrote the stories: "Goliah" 
(in "Revolution"), "The Passing of Marcus O Brien (in 
"Lost Face"), "The Unparalleled Invasion" (published 
in "The Strength of the Strong," and interesting in view 
of the alleged methods during the Great War), "The 
Enemy of All the World" and "The Dream of Debs" (both 
in "The Strength of the Strong"), and "A Curious Frag 
ment" (in "When God Laughs"). 

For recreation, the living-room echoed to exciting con 
tests in poker or hearts, among the players and onlookers 
being George Sterling, Henry Lafler, Carlton Bierce, Rich 
ard Partington, Rob Royce, Porter Garnett, Nora May 
French, and the Lily Maid, with a host of others. Upon one 
of these occasions, the first part of December, while we 
wives of "the boys" were entertaining ourselves at my new 
ly acquired Steinway "B" grand, there arrived, from Kan- 



SNAEK VOYAGE 157 

sas, in a drenching southeaster, Martin Johnson, who was 
destined to be the only unshaken unit in the Snark s crew. 
After partially drying himself, he sat in at the game of 
hearts. 

There were Sunday foregatherings with what was left 
of the old " Crowd - in Piedmont; Kugby at the Univer 
sity of California, and concerts in its Greek Theater; plays 
and concerts at the Macdonough Theater or the Bishop 
Playhouse; gay dinner-parties at the Oakland Eestaurants 
The Forum, The Saddle Rock, and Pabst Cafe. Jack con 
sumed many ten-minute " wild ducks, canvasback, mallard, 
teal, washed down with his favorite wine, imported Lieb- 
fraumilch, in the tall opaline glasses he loved. For he, who 
"bothered" so little what he put in his stomach, was devoted 
to this type of game, excessively rare and accompanied by 
potatoes au gratm; and the fact that he had not missed the 
open season was somewhat of a solace for the almost in 
supportable delay in Snark affairs. 

We made up frequent swimming parties for the Pied 
mont indoor tank; and once or twice, roved the town on 
rented saddlers, taking photographs of all that were left 
standing of Jack s many homes that had been. We boxed 
regularly at the house on Twenty-seventh Street, rather to 
the disapproval of Jack s mother, who remained silent until 
one day I drove my retreating opponent, beaten by his own 
mirth at my ferocity, into the dining-room door, cracking 
the redwood panel. Prizefights took Jack to the West Oak 
land Athletic Club, as before mentioned; and, when the 
Snark, after once breaking the inadequate ways, had been 
finally launched in San Francisco and brought to East Oak 
land for completion, there were steamed-mussel dinners 
aboard in the unfinished cabin. 

I learned to ride a wheel, good horses being unob 
tainable, and also that I might participate with Jack in 
another of his old hobbies; so he bought me a "bike," and 
was loud in his boast that with three hours practice I was 



158 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

able, without mishap, to ride clear to East Oakland to in 
spect progress on the yacht. 

We took our work to Carmel-by-the-sea, and visited the 
Sterlings for a fortnight; and a journey in mid-winter was 
made into Nevada, to Tonopah and Goldfield in which 
latter mining-town we were guests of Mr. and Mrs. Janu 
ary Jones, who showed us everything our time permitted, 
above the ground, and many hundreds of feet beneath the 
surface, by means of the precarious rim of an iron bucket. 
We returned to California by way of Rhyolite and Bullfrog, 
booming gold-centers, and had a never-to-be-forgotten 
glimpse into Death Valley; then Los Angeles, and home 
again. This trip was succeeded by one to Stanford Uni 
versity, where Jack lectured upon Socialism. We were met 
by three " clean, noble, and alive " students, Ferguson, Tut- 
tle and Wentz. Jack was entertained by the Delta Upsilon 
Fraternity; and I by the Alpha Phi Sorority. 

There was a Euskin Club dinner on February 1, which 
Jack addressed upon the subject of "Incentive." Like a 
red scarf to a bull was to Jack the stock argument so often 
advanced, that without material gain there would be no 
incentive to good deeds. His speech, which I have in man 
uscript, is too long to quote entire; but the opening chal 
lenges are enough to indicate what follows: 

"Does a child compete in a spelling match for material 
gain? 

"Do the boys wrestling or racing in the schoolyard 
compete for material gain? 

Do sailors at sea volunteer to launch a boat in a moun 
tainous sea to rescue shipwrecked strangers for material 
gain? 

"Did Lincoln toil with his statecraft for material gain? 

"Are you here to-night for material gain? 

"Do the professors in all the universities toil for mate 
rial gain? you know their average salary is less than that 
of skilled laborers. 



SNARK VOYAGE 159 

"Do the scientists in their laboratories work for mate 
rial gain? 

* Did men like Spencer, Darwin, Newton, work for mate 
rial gain? 

"Did the half million soldiers in the Civil War endure 
hardships, mangling, and violent death for the material gain 
of thirteen dollars per month? 

"And is there any incentive of material gain in the love 
of mothers for their children in all the world? and re 
member that the mothers constitute half of all the world. 

1 In short, have I not mentioned incentives, that are not 
alone higher than the incentive of material gain, but that 
dominate the incentive of material gain and that also com 
pel to action multitudes of people, in fact, all the people 
of the world? 

* * Can you not conceive that mere material gain, a once 
, useful device for the development of the human, has not ful 
filled its function and is ready to be cast aside into the scrap- 
heap of rudimentary organs and ideas, such as gills in the 
throat and belief in the divine right of kings?" 

These latter months of waiting, Jack was up and down 
in his temperament, and more or less continually depressed. 
So much so, at intervals, that for once it was I who said 
to myself: "Thank heaven I don t have to live in a city 
always!" Even Oakland, suburb of the greater town 
across the Bay, had a bad effect upon him. But at last the 
trial-trip of the Snark was heralded for February 10, and 
upon the breathing swell, ten miles out to sea, the saucy, if 
grimy, little hull bore under sail and gasolene. Our spirits 
soared ; and Jack, where we sat together in the bows for an 
hour, said to me : 

"And we re going around the world together in her, you 
and I, Mate Woman. ..." 

He presented me with "The Cruise of the Dazzler," and 
in it wrote: "And soon we sail on our own cruise. The 



160 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Cruise of the Snark and we shall be mates around the 
whole round world. " 

So loved we our adventure, that of mornings we often ex 
changed overnight dreams of boat and voyage. Then, un 
able, on account of further inconceivable and monstrous " 
excuses, to get away until April, once we went home to Glen 
Ellen. Snow was on the mountain, and we rode to the top, 
Selim and Belle, pasture-fat, sniffing suspiciously at the 
white earth. And we heard, to our lasting sorrow, how 
Brown Wolf, whose prophetic eyes and ways had wrung our 
hearts while preparations were afoot for the Long Separa 
tion, had died, alone and in the snow of his birthing, a week 
after we had left in November. No one had plucked up the 
courage to tell us. " After that first snow had all melted," 
Wiget said, 1 1 one day I saw something up the hill among the 
trees above my house ; and when I went up, there was your 
dog, dead among the leaves, with snow still on his fur." 

Dear Brown Wolf ! It seemed hard indeed that he should 
have had his bleak heart wrenched so cruelly twice in his old 
age. Eeminiscences were often upon Jack s lips : "Do you 
remember, Mate," he would say, "the day we started out 
for the afternoon on Belle and poor Ban, and Brown Wolf 
picked up a big juicy porterhouse some one had dropped, 
and nearly died because he couldn t decide between the beef 
steak and the run with us? The red meat won out he 
knew we would come back. But nothing could change his 
foreboding when we got ready for the Snark. . . . Funny 
about dogs : sometimes, as in his case, even before the travel 
ing-gear is brought out they seem to sense what is coming 
to them." 

The dismantled Jack s House and Annex did not affect 
us cheerfully ; and after a last ride to the Ranch, to see the 
completed stone and tile barn by moonlight, we bade final 
farewell to Wake Eobin. 

On the last night of the year, after wild funning with a 
chance party of acquaintances in the uproarious cafes and 




1908. JACK AND CHAKMIAN LONDON IN SOLOMON 
ISLANDS 



SNARK VOYAGE 161 

confetti-showered streets of Oakland, which had gained 
enormously in population after the great fire across the 
water, I closed my 1906 diary with these words : 

"And so ends the happiest year of my life, with before 
us a great adventure " 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THE "SNARK" VOYAGE; TRAMP COLLIER "TYMERIC" VOYAGE; 
ECUADOR; PANAMA; HOME 

1907-8-9 

OUR friends cannot understand why we make this voy 
age/ Jack elucidates his and my "I like," which, he 
always contended, is the ultimate, obvious reason for all 
human decision. "They shudder, and moan, and raise 
their hands, 7 somewhat, he might have added, as did the 
Lily Maid s mother upon his departure for Alaska. "No 
amount of explanation can make them comprehend that we 
are moving along the line of least resistance; that it is 
easier for us to go down to the sea in a small ship than to 
remain on dry land, just as it is easier for them to remain 
on dry land than to go down to the sea in the small ship. . . . 
They cannot come out of themselves long enough to see that 
their line of least resistance is not necessarily everybody 
else s line of least resistance. . . . They think I am crazy. 
In return, I am sympathetic. . . . The things I like con 
stitute my set of values. The thing I like most of all is per 
sonal achievement not achievement for the world s ap 
plause, but achievement for my own delight. It is the old 
4 1 did it! I did it! With my own hands I did it ! But per 
sonal achievement, with me, must be concrete. I d rather 
win a water-fight in the swimming-pool, or remain astride a 
horse that is trying to get out from under me, than write 
the great American novel . . . Some other fellow would 
prefer writing the great American novel . . . That is why 
I am building the Snark ... I am so made. I like it, that 
is all. The trip around the world means big moments of 

162 



ECUADOR; PANAMA; HOME 163 

living . . . Here is the sea, the wind, and the wave. Here 
are the seas, the winds, and the waves of all the world . . . 
Here is difficult adjustment, the achievement of which is 
delight to the small quivering vanity that is I ... It is my 
own particular form of vanity, that it all. 

"The ultimate word," he says elsewhere, "is I LIKE. 
It lies beneath philosophy and is twined about the heart of 
life. When philosophy has maundered ponderously for a 
month, telling the individual what he must do, the individual 
says in an instant I LIKE and does something else and 
philosophy goes glimmering. Philosophy is very often a 
man s way of explaining his own I LIKE." 

To resume: "There is also another side to the voyage 
of the Snark. Being alive, I want to see, and all the world 
is a bigger thing to see than one small town or valley." 
At the end of the voyage, he wrote : 

"The voyage was our idea of a good time. I built the Snark 
and paid for it, and for all expenses. I contracted to write 35,000 
words descriptive of the trip for a magazine which was to pay 
me the same rate I received for stories written at home. Promptly 
the magazine advertised that it was sending me especially around 
the world for itself. It was a wealthy magazine. And every man 
who had business dealings with the Snark charged three prices 
because forsooth the magazine could afford it. Down in the utter 
most South Sea isle this myth obtained, and I paid accordingly. 
To this day everybody believes that the magazine paid for every 
thing and that I made a fortune out of the voyage. It is hard, after 
such advertising, to hammer it into the human understanding that 
the whole voyage was done for the fun of it. 

The Snark exploit, so far as it lasted, was all and more 
to Jack London and to me than we had anticipated. Some 
feminine journalist, after reading my "Log," described the 
cruise as "a disappointment nothing but a disappoint 
ment. It would have been to her, who did not care to go 
down to the sea in ships, or having gone down to the sea in 
ships, dwelt only upon the little annoyances that enter sea- 



164 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

living as well as land-living. But I, with a firm philosophy 
that it is the Big Things which count, and with the memory 
of my Strong Traveler beside me, ask that no one shall en 
tertain the opinion that it was not the most wonderful, vic 
torious thing which ever happened to the right man and wo 
man. What we set out to attain the " purple passages, " 
the glamor of Romance, the sheer emancipation from any 
possible boredom or commonplaceness of memory forever 
and forever, and, before everything, increased love and 
camaraderie between us two became ours in unstinted 
measure. 

One reporter, previously to our sailing, said: "When 
Jack London talks of his purposed voyage, he is all boy, all 
enthusiasm." So he appeared. But I, accustomed to 
look beneath the surface phenomena of him, realized 
throughout my life at his side that no matter how sincere 
his enthusiasms, the keen edge had been rubbed from ad 
venture by pre-adventure, if I may coin a word the super- 
adventure of a too-early manhood. So, in his successful 
maturity, when he came to undertake, with all the zest in 
him, the conquest of dreams he had failed to capture in 
youth like say exploring Typee Valley, or letting go anchor 
in uncharted bights of cannibal isles it was with a differ 
ence which a less experienced, less thoughtful man would not 
have known. 

Yet his ardors were many, once we were under way on 
the "Long Trail." Hawaii, that in later years he came to 
call his Love-Land, warmed his veins to the very delicious- 
ness of our venture the keenest zest of which was that we 
were seeing the world together. In the midst of his morn 
ing s thousand words, he would break off to remind me of 
the beauty and adventure we should find below the equator ; 
and then, realizing that a half -hour had been lost from his 
busy time, he would pick up his charmed ink-pencil : 

There don t talk to me any more, woman ! How am I 
going to get my thousand words done, to pay for those pearls 



ECUADOR; PANAMA; HOME 165 

we re going to buy in the Paumotus and Torres Straits, and 
all that turtle shell from Melanesia, if you keep me from 
work now!" Poor me, speechless, with clasped hands of 
transport in his own rapturous imaginings. But, since the 
youngling philosopher, who always dreamed with his two 
feet upon solid earth, seldom failed to bring his intentions 
to pass, safely enough I thought to count upon the gleaming 
sea-seeds and polished turtle-scales, the adventuring for 
which was to be seven-eighths of the prize. Again, look 
ing up with visions in his deep eyes : 

" Think, think where we are bound the very names 
stir all the younger red corpuscles in one! Bankok, 
Celebes, Madagascar, Java, Sumatra, Natal oh, I ll take 
you to them all ; and your lap shall be filled with pearls, my 
dear, and we shall have them set in fretted gold by the smiths 
.of the Orient." 

As a sailor, I could not but feel that he was a consum 
mate artist. As that matchless sea-writer, Joseph Conrad, 
reminds us, "an artist is a man of action, whether he 
creates a personality, invents an expedient, or finds the 
issue of a complicated situation. And Jack London s was 
a facility of adjustment, a quickness of conception and exe 
cution, "upon the basis, " again to quote Conrad, "of just 
appreciation of means and ends which is the highest quality 
of the man of action. 

All a piece of wonder it was, on and round about the 
narrow precipitous deck of the Snark, herself a mere scud 
ding fleck of matter advancing upon the vast undulating 
plane of the Pacific. How could a true sailor be bored, the 
longest day under the arching blue sky the excellent trades 
hunting his ship to its purple havens? For Jack found me 
sailor, too, albeit a lamentably untechnical mariner ever 
he stood aghast at the hopelessness of getting me to present, 
1 1 so that the Man from Mars could understand, certain or 
dinary, primary principles of seamanship. But my love and 
true feel for the very shape of a boat, and for her perform- 



166 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

ance, and for the whole world of water, easily he saw were 
not to be questioned ; while always, in entering and leaving 
the most dangerous passages, he sent me to the wheel to 
cooperate with his piloting. "It s this way:" he had it. 
"There are many boats, but only one woman; boats will 
come and go, and captains will come and go, but Charmian 
will be with me always, at the helm." 

Here I am tempted to digress, in order to word a still but 
not small worry that was mine during our married life. 
Jack s correlations between brain and body were exception 
ally balanced. But there showed in him one inexactitude that 
led me to nurse a dread that my own hand, under his com 
mand, might some most inopportune time wreck a boat. 
I do not know when I first began to notice that at intervals 
he would say "right" for "left," but sometimes I would 
promptly call his attention to the mistake while his voice 
was still in the air. My principal fear was that, some irre 
trievable consequence having occurred, the responsibility 
might not be easy to place; and I prided myself upon un 
questioning obedience aboard ship. Jack liked that, and 
only once did we personally come to grief. It was upon a 
midnight in the Solomon Islands, dark as a hat, and Jack, 
sick and apprehensive, was trying to make out a certain 
plantation anchorage on Guadalcanal. Suddenly, though 
the shore signal lights were identical, he discovered that we 
were almost on the rocks. It eventuated that another plan 
tation than the one we sought had irresponsibly copied the 
other s lights. I started to put the wheel hard down at 
Jack s swift, tense command. i Hard down ! Hard down ! 
quick!" he repeated. Then I, like an idiot, "Oh, I am! 
I am!" It was too much for the disciplined sailorman. 
Not of babbling courtesies nor babies nor women was 
he thinking, but of saving the vessel that insured the safe 
ty of all the souls on board. And I let my own silly, 
mawkish, fever-warped nerves go up against this intellect 
ually-cool, efficient manipulating of a real issue. Since 



ECUADOE; PANAMA; HOME 167 

Jack never apologized for his sharp reproof, "Obey orders 
and don t talk back ! " I truly believe that no realization of 
his harshness entered the mind so bent upon a life-and- 
death problem. 

No, we did not know the meaning of boredom. And 
" Aren t you glad I m your husband?" Jack would laugh 
over my enthusiasms. Or, tenderly, "You would marry a 
sailor!" when I floundered into the head-splitting fever 
attacks. But dearest of all was his assurance, reiterated in 
illness and discouragement: "You do not know what you 
mean to me. It is like being lost in the Dangerous Archi 
pelago, and coming into safe harbor at last." 

It is all a piece of wonder, the sea, to such as we : still 
magic of calms, where one s boat lies with motionless grace 
upon a shadow-flecked expanse of mirror; or when one 
laughs in the pelt of warm sea-rain from a ragged gray sky 
of clouds ; or peers for blue-black squalls darkling upon the 
silver moonlit waves; or lifts prideful, fond eyes to the 
small ship s goodly spars standing fast in a white gale; or 
gazes in marvel at those same spars lighted to flame by 
the red-gilt morning sunrays from over some green and 
purple savage isle feared of God and man ; or braces to the 
Pacific rollers bowling upon the surface of the eternal 
unagitated depths; or scans the configuration of coasts 
from inadequate charts ; or steers, tense, breathless, through 
the gateways of but half -known reefs, into enchanted coral- 
rings below l the lap of the Line " ; or looks with misleading 
candor into the eyes of man-eating human beings ; or being 
received ashore on scented Polynesian fragments of Para 
dise" aplume with waving palms, with brown embraces, into 
the "high seat of abundance." It is all wonder and deep 
delight, this l smoke of life ; and often and often we sur 
prised ourselves thinking or voicing our pity for the "vain 
people of landsmen" who have no care for such joys as 
ours. Jack, embodiment of fearlessness, so vivid in 



168 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

thought, and action, and body, was a ringing challenge 
to any who were not half-dead. 

On November 24, 1907, in 126 20 W.Lon., 60 47 N.Lat, 
Jack wrote George Sterling: 

" Oh, You Greek : 

"I haven t received a letter for two months, and two months 
more will probably elapse before I pick up a mountain of mail in 
Papeete. You know what my mail is think of four months of it 
coming in one swat ! 

"49 days next Monday since last saw Hilo and land, and we re 
in the Doldrums now, the Marquesas many hundreds of miles away. 

Did anybody ever tell you that it s a hard voyage from Hawaii 
to the Marquesas? . . . The South Sea Directory says that the 
whaleship captains doubted if it could be accomplished from 
Hawaii to Tahiti which is much easier than the Marquesas. 
We ve had to fight every inch of easting, in order to be able to make 
the islands when we fall in with the S. E. traders. . . . The first two 
weeks out of Hilo we met the N. E. trades well around to the 
east and even at times a bit north of east. Result was we sagged 
south (across a westerly current) and made practically no easting 
till we struck the Variables. 

"But I m working every day! 

"Say, you ve seen dolphin. Think of catching them on rod 
and reel! That s what I m doing. Gee! You ought to see them 
take the line out (I have 600 yards on the reel, and need it all). 
The first one fought me about twenty minutes, when I hauled him 
to gaff four feet six inches of blazing beauty. 

"When they strike, they run away like mad, leaping into the 
air again and again, prodigiously, and in each mid-leap, shaking 
their heads like young stallions. 

1 find it hard to go to sleep after catching one of them. The 
leaping, blazing beauty of it gets on my brain. 

"I never saw dolphins really until this trip. Pale-blue, after 
being struck, they turn golden. On deck, of course, afterward, 
they run the gamut of color. But in the water, after the first wild 
run, they are pure gold. 

"I am going to write up the voyage of the Snark and entitle 



ECUADOR; PANAMA; HOME 169 

it: Around the World with Three Gasoline Engines and a 
Wife. " 

And a postscript : l Talk about luck ! I have played poker and 
I have now lost the ninth successive time, eight out of the nine 
times being the only loser. You can t beat that, you ever-blessed 
Greek! "Wolf." 

In Jack s ten-weeks mail at Tahiti was a letter from 
his children s mother, announcing her approaching nup 
tials. His natural paternal interest in the prospective step 
father of his two daughters, combined with news of the cur 
rent panic in Wall Street, determined a break in the Snark 
voyage. We took a thirty-days round-trip to San Fran 
cisco, on the old S.S. Mariposa, whose roomy portholes were 
model for the means of "Martin Eden s" suicide. Once 
more in Tahiti, Jack wrote Cloudesley Johns under date of 
February 17, 1908 : 

"Oh, you can t lose the Snark. By the time Charmian and I 
had arrived in Frisco, we were both saying: Me for the Snark 
We were honestly homesick for her. We re a whole lot safer on the 
Snark than on the streets of San Francisco. Wish, often, that you 
could be with us on some of our jamborees and adventures. We 
sail from here in several days for Samoa, the Fijiis, New Cale 
donia, and the Solomons. Have just finished a 145,000 word novel 
that is an attack upon the bourgeoisie and all that the bourgeoisie 
stands for. It will not make me any friends. [This was " Martin 
Eden 7 .] 

" The Iron Heel ought to be out by now. I wonder what 
you will think of it. 

Have just finished Austin Lewis American Proletariat. It s 
good stuff. 

Somewhere along our gorgeous sea highway, the mail 
brought Jack word of the public s reception of "The Iron 
Heel," which cast him into temporary gloom. 

"Just the same," he burst into his sunny chuckle, "I 
told the bourgeoisie a thing or two they didn t know about 



170 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

the way their blessed laws are made! * He referred espe 
cially to the Dick Militia Bill, passed by the Senate in 1903. 
For some reason best known to the Solons, very few Ameri 
cans knew of this bill. Practically none but the Socialist 
papers gave it notice. Chapter VIII of "The Iron Heel" 
started considerable publicity for both himself and Eepre- 
sentative Dick of Ohio. I have in my hand a clipping 
as late as February 1917, headed: "State Guards in a 
Dilemma : Dick Bill and National Defense Act Conflict With 
Some of the Units. 

Jack, pressed to relate our wildest experiences in can- 
nibaldom, would sometimes tell the following : 

"We had excitement enough, as Charmian will testify; but 
there were no such hairbreadth escapes as that of a missionary we 
heard of. This good fellow was preaching in one of the islands 
where man-eating is practised, and was captured by a skeptical 
chief. To his surprise, he was immediately released, but on the 
condition that he carry a small sealed packet to a neighboring 
mountain chief. The missionary was so grateful that, meeting a 
detachment of English sailors from a battle cruiser, he declined to 
accompany them to a safer territory. The sealed packet should be 
delivered as he had promised. But an officer in the midst of the 
discussion opened it. Therein, tucked among some small onions, 
was a message to the chief : 

" The bearer will be delicious with these. 

During the space in time taken up by the SnarJc episode, 
namely between April 1907 and July 1909, Jack London, in 
addition to the administration of ship s affairs, recreation, 
wide reading, sightseeing, and weeks idle from illnesses, 
wrote the equivalent of more than eight full volumes, as 
follows : 

"The Cruise of the Snark," published serially in The 
Cosmopolitan and Harper s Weekly. 

"Martin Eden/ begun in Honolulu in summer of 1907, 
finished at Papeete, Tahiti, February 1908, and serial pub- 



ECUADOE; PANAMA; HOME 171 

lication commenced in The Pacific Monthly, of Portland, 
Oregon, in September of same year. 

"Adventure," a novel depicting the manner of life we 
lived ashore in the Solomons. Begun while cruising among 
that Group, and often interrupted for the writing of timely 
short work. 

4 * South Sea Tales." These splendid stories, unlike 
the later ones in "A Son of the Sun," were written dur 
ing the voyage. 

4 The House of Pride" collection of Hawaii romances. 
"Burning Daylight." This novel was started in Quito, 
Ecuador. 

And short stories, later dispersed throughout five differ 
ent volumes : 

"The Chinago" ("When God Laughs") 
"A Piece of Steak" ("When God Laughs") 
"Make Westing" ("When God Laughs") 
"South of the Slot" ("The Night-Born") 
"The Other Animals" (Article replying to Theodore 
Roosevelt s attack upon the "nature fakers," and collected 
in "Revolution.") 

"Nothing that Ever Came to Anything" ("The Human 
Drift.") 

In Australia, Jack, on condition that I should accom 
pany him, reported the Burns-Johnson prizefight for 
The Star, Sydney, and the New York Herald. He also wrote 
a series of articles upon his general local impressions, as 
well as the labor situation in the Commonwealth from his 
socialist viewpoint. All of this work I shall collect at a 
future date for book publication. 

Jack had much fun over the charge of "nature-faking," 
inasmuch as it arose over a misreading on the part of the 
President, of the incident, in "White Fang," of the wolf- 
dog killing the lynx ; whereas Mr. Eoosevelt erroneously at 
tacked the author for having the lynx do away with the dog. 



172 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

I! must not be forgotten that throughout the traverse of 
the Pacific, Jack failed not in sounding his trumpet for the 
brotherhood of man. Wherever opportunity presented, he 
either debated, as in Honolulu, or lectured, as in Tahiti and 
Samoa, or used his pen when too ill to speak, as in Australia. 

I might mention, if I have not previously done so, that 
Jack was accustomed, in the course of his literary career, 
to seek perspective upon his plots and motifs before de 
veloping them on paper; but during the Snarls voyage he 
often went at the actual weaving of a story rather than 
merely filing notes upon it. 

For the benefit of editors and readers who have scoffed 
at Jack London s novel " Adventure " as an inaccurate, 
over-drawn picture of savagery in the Twentieth Century, 
I select passages from his letter to George Sterling, from 
the Solomon Islands, October 31, 1908: 

1 For the last three or four months the Snark has been cruising 
about the Solomons. This is about the rawest edge of the world. 
Head-hunting, cannibalism and murder are rampant. Among the 
worst islands of the group, day and night we are never unarmed, 
and night watches are necessary. Charmian and I went on a cruise 
on another boat around the island of Malaita. We had a black 
crew. The natives we encountered, men and women, go stark 
naked, and are armed with bows, arrows, spears, tomahawks, war- 
clubs and rifles. (Have Fiji and Solomon war-clubs for you.) 
When ashore we always had armed sailors with us, while the men 
in the whale-boat laid by their oars with the bow of the boat pointed 
seaward. We went swimming once in the mouth of a fresh-water 
river, and all about us in the bush our sailors were on guard, while 
we, when we undressed, left our clothes conspicuously in one place, 
and our weapons hidden in another, so that in case of surprise we 
would not do the obvious thing. 

"And to cap it all, we got wrecked on a reef. The minute 
before we struck not a canoe was in sight. But they began to 
arrive like vultures out of the blue. Half of our sailors held them 
off with rifles, while the other half worked to save the vessel. And 



ECUADOB; PANAMA; HOME 173 

down on the beach a thousand bushmen gathered for the loot. 
But they didn t get it, nor us. 

"Am leaving here in two days to go to Sydney, where I go 
into hospital for an operation. And I have other afflictions, from 
a medical standpoint vastly more serious than the operation. " 

The one and only reason that our splendid adventure 
terminated in two years instead of seven, or ten, or un 
numbered years, was that Jack London s supersensitive or 
ganism prevented. I remember him arguing, in Hawaii, 
with Dr. E. S. Goodhue, the point of his working-pace in 
the tropics. Neither Jack nor I was willing to forego 
any jot of our activity, mental or physical. In the end, 
the ultra-violet rays exacted their toll of his nervous system, 
as the Doctor had forewarned. In his own words : 

"I went to Australia to go into hospital, where I spent five 
weeks. [The operation was for a double-fistula, caused we never 
knew how.] I spent five months miserably sick in hotels. The 
mysterious malady that affected my hands was too much for the 
Australian specialists. ... It extended from my hands to my 
feet so that at times I was helpless as a child. On occasion my 
hands were twice their natural size, with seven dead and dying 
skins peeling off at the same time. There were times when my 
toe-nails, in twenty-four hours, grew as thick as they were long. 
After filing them off, inside another twenty-four hours they were 
as thick as before. 

"The Australian specialists agreed that the malady was non- 
parasitic, and that, therefore, it must be nervous. It did not mend, 
and it was impossible for me to continue the voyage ... I reasoned 
that in my own climate of California I had always maintained a 
stable nervous equilibrium. 

"Since my return I have completely recovered. And I have 
found out what was the matter with me. I encountered a book 
by Lieutenant Colonel Charles E. Woodruff of the United States 
Army, entitled Effects of Tropical Light on White Men. Then 
I knew ... In brief, I had a strong predisposition toward the tis- 
sue-destructiveness of tropical light. I was being torn to pieces by 



174 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

the ultra-violet rays just as many experimenters with the X-Ray 
have been torn to pieces. 

"In passing, I may mention that among other afflictions that 
jointly compelled the abandonment of the voyage, was one that is 
variously called the healthy man s disease, European leprosy, and 
Biblical leprosy. Unlike True leprosy, nothing is known of this 
mysterious malady . . . The only hope the doctors had held out 
to me was a spontaneous cure, and such a cure was mine." [This 
was simply psoriasis, as known in the United States, for which 
many cures are advertised, but none known that is efficacious.] 

Finally, as a tribute to my own whole-hearted devo 
tion to the voyage and all that it meant, Jack offers : 

* * A last word : the test of the voyage. It is easy enough for me 
or any man to say that it was enjoyable. But there is a better wit 
ness, the one woman who made it from beginning to end. In hos 
pital when I broke the news to Charmian that I must go back to 
California, the tears welled into her eyes. For two days she was 
wrecked and broken by the knowledge that the happy, happy voyage 
was abandoned. * 

The venture definitely thrown over, Jack dispersed his 
crew, laid up the Snark in one of beautiful Sydney Har 
bor s green crannies, and shipped home our effects. The 
yacht eventually netted less than one-tenth of her original 
inflated price, and went to trade and recruit in the New 
Hebrides. Jack and I, loath to retrace our way across the 
ocean in conventional mode, watched for chance to ship 
on anything but a passenger liner. Our luck it was to 
catch, upon extremely short notice, a rusty leviathan of 
a Scotch collier, the Tymeric, Captain Kobert Mcllwaine, 
from Newcastle, N.S.W., to Guayaquil, Ecuador. With 
us sailed Yoshimatsu Nakata, the eighteen-year-old, father 
ly Japanese soul who had joined the Snark as cabin boy 
when we left Hawaii. Nakata remained our loving and 
beloved shadow for nine responsible years; and I feel 
free to assert, for Jack London as well as myself, that 



ECUADOR; PANAMA; HOME 175 

when the faithful brown boy came to marry and resign from 
our service at the end of 1915, life never seemed quite the 
same again. Nakata is since a graduate of the San Fran 
cisco College of Physicians and Surgeons, and success 
fully wields his fashionable forceps in his own offices in 
Honolulu, with two assistants. 

"No man is a hero to his valet " was not applicable in 
Jack London s household. Servants worshiped him, for 
he never tired helping them with his knowledge of all kinds. 

For nearly three weeks after she stood out at sea, the 
Tymeric, resembling a log awash, fought a violent gale. I 
was time and again laid low with the terrible Solomon Island 
malaria. Jack and Nakata, suffering only occasional light 
attacks, nursed me like gentlest women. Jack was espe 
cially sympathetic in that I was missing the magnificent 
sight, from the bridge, of the plunging, submerging hull of 
the steamer, which he, "who lived with storms and spaces 
like a kinsman," as some one has aptly said, so reveled in. 
Here is his reference to the gale : 

" We were a tramp collier, rusty and battered, with six thousand 
tons of coal in our hold. Life lines were stretched fore and aft ; 
and on our weather side, attached to smokestack guys and rigging, 
were huge rope-nettings, hung there for the purpose of breaking 
the force of the seas and so saving our mess-room doors. But the 
doors were smashed and the mess-room washed out just the same. 

Yet Jack compared all this as monotonous alongside 
sailing a small boat on San Francisco Bay. 

We were forty-three days on this passage, seeing land 
but twice, and upon two successive days first, fair Pit- 
cairn Island of Bounty fame, on the southernmost edge of 
the farflung Paumotus whose northernmost edge we had 
skirted when westward-bound; and next, the low isle of 
Ducie, its tropic scents of blossom and cocoanut borne out 
across the water on the warm breeze. 

Captain Mcllwaine proved a mine of interest to Jack, 



176 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

who wrote a brace of his most thoughtful stories, "Samuel" 
and "The Sea Farmer" (in "The Strength of the Strong") 
from notes made from the canny skipper s yarns. I worked 
up a County McGee, North of Ireland, vocabulary for Jack, 
often reporting the quaint speech under the table at meals. 
The Skipper caught me at it, I know; but he continued 
generously unabated in reminiscence. 

Here is part of a letter Jack wrote off Pitcairn Island on 
May 2, to George Sterling: 

"Never you mind N and all the other little bats, but go 

on hammering out beauty. If the urge comes from within to write 
propaganda, all right; otherwise you violate yourself. There are 
plenty who can do propaganda, but darned few that can create 
beauty. Some day you may see your way to fuse both, but mean 
while do what you heart listeth. 

" * Memory is great! I ve read it aloud a dozen times. (You 
should see us, George, when you send us a new poem! We sit 
and read it with tears in our eyes!) " 

One could draw a sheaf of sketches upon that month in 
Ecuador. We climbed great Chimborazo, twelve thousand 
feet of its twenty-two thousand, on the wonderful American 
railway; thence descended two thousand feet to Quito, 
where, at the Hotel Eoyal, over a fortnight was spent ; and 
before sailing upon the Erica for Panama, friends took us 
alligator-hunting up the River Guayas, where Jack, who 
never did anything by halves, laid in a large supply of 
salted skins. 

As to this marvelous country, he ever afterward 
raved of its possibilities of agricultural development, and 
advised more than one ambitious young man that Ecuador 
would give him "the chance of his life." 

There are many incidents that throw added light 
upon Jack London s individuality. Such as his indignation 
toward the unfair methods of the bull-ring, as against the 
" white-man s game" of prizefighting his passion leading 



ECUADOR; PANAMA; HOME 177 

him to write "The Madness of John Harned" (in "The 
Night-Born"); and his interest, for once, in American 
horse-racing as practised in Quito; and the Latin- Ameri 
can character as displayed about him, in public, and in 
the clubs where he took a look-in at the gambling of 
Ecuadorian gentlemen and their psychology as regarded 
payment of losses. He was in the best of humor for most 
of the sojourn, little troubled with fever, and spilled some 
of his whimsical disgust at the undependableness of Quito s 
inhabitants in a humorous skit, "Nothing that Ever Came 
to Anything" (in "The Human Drift"), which is the nar 
ration of an actual occurrence. 

One sweet manifestation of himself shone out one day 
when I was strolling alone. A spic-and-span victoria was 
sent all over the shopping district to find me, because, for 
sooth, a peddler with her basket of laces had come to our 
rooms, and Jack did not want me to miss her. He hovered 
about the pair of us seated on the floor in a sea of needle 
work, inciting me to satisfy my craving to the uttermost. A 
day he spent taking me to convents, in search for embroid 
eries, and joined in a blanket-haggling revel in an old plaza 
brilliant native dyes of hand-loom weaves from llama 
wool. He did balk, however, at adding a tiny, shivering 
green monkey to the menage. 

In Panama, a rousing American military Fourth of July 
was followed by a ten days stay at the Hotel Tivoli, whence 
we explored some of the surrounding country, saw the work 
of the great canal, and shopped in the Chinese stores. And 
I must take space for something that happened on the 
evening of the Fourth. The hotel was jammed, and we 
were obliged to share our small table with an American 
couple. The man appeared to be much the worse for the 
climate, and his wife evidently spent her life soothing him 
into a semblance of fitness for association with his kind. 
We extended the ordinary courtesies to them both, but it 



178 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

was no use. After the man had sourly declined several 
things passed him, suddenly, to Jack, he burst : 

"I don t want anything from you!" 

Jack gulped. I went chill, as when Manyoungi had in 
vited destruction, but again misjudged my man. Instead 
of blowing up as the terrified woman expected, Jack turned 
to her, and quietly, without interruption, at length and sans 
haste, told her exactly what he thought of her husband and 
how sorry he was for her. The poor lady, already blanched 
and wilted, never raised her eyes nor opened her lips. Nor 
did her companion. They presently rose and left the table. 

"I couldn t help it," Jack apologized to me. "I was 
sorry for her, and I did her a service, I do believe just in 
telling her, before him, what a skunk he is !" 

I never saw Jack smite anybody except with a tongue- 
lashing; and, so far as I know, during our years together 
he never but once struck a man. 

We sailed from Colon on the Turrialba for New Orleans. 
My temperature on the day of arrival, if memory serves, 
was 104, and I continued for a year to suffer intermittent 
attacks of malaria. But Jack, again in his home-land, soon 
had cast all trace of fever, as well as of psoriaris, forever 
into the discard. 

From New Orleans to Oakland his return was hailed 
by the newspapers, and reporters boarded the train at a 
number of towns. We stopped over but once, at the Grand 
Canon of the Colorado, where we found ourselves hospit 
ably entertained by the Manager of the Hotel El Tovar and 
his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Brandt, as guests of the proprietor, 
Mr. Fred Harvey. On July 24, 1909, we were once more 
at home in Wake Robin Lodge. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

BETTJBN FBOM SNABK VOYAGE; A DAUGHTER IS BORN 
End 1909-1910 

HOMECOMING, after twenty-seven months of absence, 
was not the least of our enviable experiences. There 
was so much to see and do. The great stone barn was 
completed, roofed with red Spanish tile, and sheltered, 
besides horses and vehicles, all of our magnificent collection 
of South Sea curios. Concerning this small museum, much 
mirth had escaped from the Custom House into the press 
as to its value in dollars and cents. Jack s "declaration" 
had perforce been couched entirely in terms of stick-tobacco, 
which had been the sole medium of exchange with the sav 
ages of Melanesia. 

Then Eanch improvements were to be inspected, to 
gether with the modest increase in stock colts and calves, 
chickens, ducks, and pigeons. Most exciting of all, my 
Aunt, as Jack s agent, had added to our possessions the 
tiny "Fish Ranch" and the La Motte hundred and thirty 
acres adjoining Wake Robin, as well as a broad strip con 
necting the same with the Hill property Jack s "Beauty 
Ranch. " There was but one fly in the ointment as regarded 
the new acquisition. Certain men had so conducted nego 
tiations as to leave Jack s agent in ignorance of a serious 
drawback to ownership of the land: upon it rested a thir 
teen-year lease of a valuable pit which furnished clay for 
the Glen Ellen brickyard. This was not so bad in itself, but 
the lease also covered standing timber, which might be cut 
at any time by the lessees for use in the brick-kiln furnaces. 

179 



180 THE BOOK OP JACK LONDON 

Jack, in the face of unalterable circumstances, naturally 
made the most of the fact that he was entitled to "ten 
cents a yard" for all clay hauled down hill, and in course 
of time netted a tidy sum which, I must insert, did not com 
pensate him for the annoyance of a dusty, rutted right-of- 
way over his land, to say nothing of the constant reminder, 
whenever plodding teams and creaking loads in clouds of 
dust crossed his vision, of the dishonest dealings of his fel 
low men. The nuisance was before long abated, and finally 
ceased altogether, for the brickyard went out of business 
previous to its requirement of any firewood from the La 
Motte land. It may interest travelers to know that the 
hollow brick used in the beautiful Hotel Oakland, in Jack s 
home town, was made at Glen Ellen from material mined 
on the Jack London Eanch. 

Meanwhile, nothing daunted, Jack, with fabulous forests 
in his far-seeing eye, had hesitated not to set out 15,000 
baby eucalyptus trees, bought from Stratton a in Petaluma, 
trying out their vitality on the most impoverished section of 
the La Motte holding. 

My perspective of the latter months of 1909, from our 
return in mid-July on into the winter, is not one of unalloyed 
pleasure. For exuberance in our general happy estate was 
sorely tempered by anemia and sporadic attacks of the vi 
cious malaria that so impaired my usefulness, as well as any 
fair qualities I may have possessed as hostess. And from 
the first week, Jack and I were not for a day without guests. 
Hospitality is a beautiful thing in itself ; but I leave to the 
reader my frame of mind, when time and again I was 
obliged to lie up for days, my work going behind, and, 
not the least of my troubles, the pitiable effect this helpless 
ness worked in Jack. Whenever anything interfered with 
"the Cheery One s" cheeriness, Jack, under no matter what 
merry dissembling, was lamentably at outs with existence. 

Despair seemed to reacn its height when during the 
duck season, I had to remain home from a long-contem- 



A DAUGHTER IS BOEN 181 

plated yachting trip up-river which was to include a 
house-guest, Louis Augustin, from Canada, and the Sterl 
ings. Only at the last moment did I give in, and keep to 
my bed. This cruise was made in a rented sloop, Phyllis, 
and lasted for several weeks. Jack was not well, and re 
turned quite ill, but was soon himself. In the interim, I 
had patronized Burke s Sanitarium for a week a lovely 
Mecca in our own county, administered by a noble man, Mr. 
J. P. Burke and felt greatly improved. Burke s, by the way, 
had formerly been Altruria, a cooperative colony of charm 
ing idealists, where I had spent more than one vacation, 
going about the country on horseback for a month at a time. 

But far be it from me to draw a veil of gloom over 
that summer and autumn. There was ample joie du vivre 
sprinkled throughout. Jack s work was as always the sus 
taining anchor for us both. Burning Daylight, the novel 
commenced in Quito, Ecuador, was duly "signed, sealed, 
and delivered" unto the New York Herald, where it ap 
peared serially, and was published by Macmillans in the 
fall of 1910. And Jack wrote one short manuscript beside, 
on a request to describe the most dramatic moment of his 
life. This is entitled "That Dead Men Rise Up Never" (in 
"The Human Drift"), a ghost-story founded upon his ex 
perience aboard the Sophie Sulherland, from which I have 
made quotation in an early chapter. 

A short-story collection, "Lost Face," and the novel 
"Martin Eden," which has helped shape the purposes of so 
many, were the two volumes brought out in 1909. There was 
almost universal protest from readers of this novel as to 
its author s wisdom in killing off the hero. Jack held that 
Martin, robbed both of love and of pleasure in his too-hard- 
won fame, and finding no faith in his fellow man to sus 
tain him in his loneliness, had nothing left to do, logically 
and artistically, but terminate a life that had become a 
burden. "Which is where Martin Eden and I differed," 
Jack smiled contentedly. "To be sure, when my own battle 



182 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

was won, I had little use for the spoils, so far as fame went; 
but I did not become self-centered. I solaced myself with 
warm interest in my kind, and I did find love which is bet 
ter than all." Whereupon, he presented his wife with the 
first copy in hand, in which he had generously written : 
"You see, Martin Eden did not have you!" 
Here is a letter, dated April 26, 1910, to one Lillian Col 
lins who, neglecting to leave a forwarding address, never 
came into possession of Jack s argument in answer to her 
protest : 

"In reply to your good letter of April 22. I don t know 
whether to take it as an unconscious compliment to me, or as a 
subtle compliment to me. I quote from your letter : * He was not 
physically able to defend himself. He was heartsick; the nerves 
of action paralyzed by enormous strain, the power to weigh and 
analyze, compare and select, submerged under an overwhelming 
sense of loss. 

From the foregoing, and much more that you have said in your 
letter, you point out to me that I did succeed in showing the in- 
evitableness of his death. I was no more treacherous to Martin 
Eden than life is treacherous to many, many men and women. You 
continually point out to me where I took unfair advantages of 
Martin Eden, l cramming his newly awakened mind with abstraction 
which his crude mental processes were not able to assimilate. 
Granted; but do not forget that this was MY Martin Eden, and 
that I manufactured him in this very particular, precise and pe 
culiar fashion. Having done so, his untimely end is accounted for. 
Remember that he was MY Martin Eden, and was made by me in 
this fashion. He certainly was not the Martin Eden that you 
would have made. I think the disagreement between you and me 
lies in that you confuse my Martin Eden with your Martin Eden. 

"You say: I look upon Martin Eden s selfish individualism 
as a crudity adhering from the boy s early habits of life a lack of 
perspective which time and a wider horizon would correct. And 
you complain because he died. Your point is that if I had let him 
live, he would have got out of all this slough of despond. Again, 
to make a simile which I know will be distasteful to you, let me 
point out that the case is exactly parallel with that of a beauti- 



A DAUGHTER IS BOEN 183 

ful young man, with the body of an Adonis, who cannot swim, 
who is thrown into deep water, and who drowns. You cry out, 
Give the young man time to learn to swim while he is drowning, and 
he will not drown, but will win safely to shore. And the queer 
thing, reverting to the original proposition, is, that you yourself, 
in sharp, definite terms, point out the very reasons why Martin 
Eden couldn t swim, and had to drown. 

1 You tell me that I asserted that love had tricked and failed 
Martin Eden, and that you know better and that I know better. 
On the contrary, from what I know of love, I believe that Martin 
Eden had his first big genuine love when he fell in love with 
Ruth, and that not he alone, but that countless millions of men 
and women, have been tricked in one way or another in similar 
fashion. However, you are unfair in taking such an assertion 
and making the sweeping generalization that I deny all love and 
the greatness of all love. 

"Then, it is an endless question. I don t think you and I 
have so much of a quarrel over Martin Eden as we have on account 
of our different interpretations of life. Your temperament and 
your training lead you one way mine lead me another way. I 
think that right there is the explanation of our difference. 

Thanking you for your good letter, 

Sincerely yours, 

To one who had interpreted Martin Eden as a Socialist, 
Jack wrote : 

"Contrary to your misinterpretation, Martin Eden was not a 
Socialist. On the contrary, I drew him a temperamental, and, 
later on, an intellectual Individualist. So much was he an In 
dividualist, that he characterized your kind of Individualism as 
half-baked Socialism. Martin Eden was a proper Individualist 
of the extreme Nietzschean type." 

As for public appearances in 1909, Jack read "The 
Amateur M. D.," (from "The Cruise of the Snark") in 
Oakland, before the Rice Institute in Old Reliance Hall; 
and he spoke a number of times, here and there, on other 
phases of the Snark voyage. Once he lectured in San Fran 
cisco for the Socialists in Dreamland Rink. 



184 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

" Among those present" at Wake Robin Lodge that fall 
were the Sterlings; Jack s old friend Frank Atherton; 
Cloudesley Johns and his bride ; "Lem" Parton, author and 
editor; Mrs. Lucy Parsons, a plucky widow of the Hay- 
market tragedy in Chicago ; " A No. 1," the engaging gentle 
man-tramp who left his picturesque "monaker" carved on 
the Lodge veranda as well as along the railroad route to 
Glen Ellen, on which he "beat" his passage; and Emma 
Goldman and Dr. Ben Reitman, who, with friendly naivete, 
tried to divert Jack from his socialism, which they derided, 
toward their unconstructive anarchism, at which he jeered, 
while not depreciating their martyr-sincerity and courage 
ous, if (to him) misguided sacrifices. Of these and some 
others he later said: "The anarchists whom I know are 
dear, big souls whom I like and admire immensely. But 
they are dreamers, idealists. I believe in law . . . you can 
see it in my books all down in black and white." I have 
more to say about this when presently drawing together 
the threads of Jack s life near its close. 

And in his two or three days 7 entertainment of this 
woman and man, one of whom during the Great War fell 
into such evil fortune, he argued seriously as little as pos 
sible, devoting himself to laughing at and with them, and 
playing juvenile pranks. One of these was the placing 
at Dr. Reitman s plate of an attractive little red book, 
bearing the title "Four Weeks, a Loud Book." The 
guest, somewhat of a joker himself, met his Waterloo at 
Jack s hands. For when, the book opened, it exploded with 
loud report, "Never," Jack would laugh in retrospect, "did 
any one jump so high as that red anarchist ! He must have 
thought it was a bomb, for he went positively green. He 
has the soul of a child they re such soft people, anarchists, 
when it comes to actual violence and when they do try it, 
they usually make a mess of it because they re dreamers and 
haven t learned practical brass-tack ways of doing the very 
things they so vehemently preach." 



A DAUGHTER IS BOEN 185 

The ordinary camp recreations prevailed; and Jack, 
upon which tenderfoot, during the establishing of himself 
as a farmer, certain unreliable or unsound horseflesh was 
palmed off by traders for substantial returns, spent much 
time, that year and the next, subduing the creatures to his 
will. I was often worried when he failed to report for the 
evening meal and for hours afterward. After I had satis 
fied myself, from repeated successes, of his prudence and 
wisdom in forestalling the scant and often addled gray- 
matter of our equine friends, I said, perhaps carelessly: 

"I don t worry about you any more when you are out 
with your incorrigible horses I" 

For once our mental lines were crossed. Jack looked as 
puzzled and grieved as an abandoned child. I hastened to 
explain the reason for my lightened emotions confidence in 
his methods; whereupon he was as proud as he had been 
taken aback and hurt. It was not wholly true my flat state 
ment that I had ceased to worry. There could not fail to be 
an undercurrent of apprehension, while an occasional minor 
accident, that left its scar upon my man, or further dis 
qualified delicate ankle or wrist, prevented my nerves from 
becoming unresponsive. 

How he gloried in it all how he beamed and fairly 
quivered with achievement when, say, he had, with months 
of patient "staying with it," beguiled spidery little Fleet 
from her custom of bolting downhill with nose high in air to 
the detriment of all control ; or his excusable bragging when, 
for fifteen hundred miles, he drove the notorious outlaw, 
Gert, as wheeler in our four-in-hand she who had broken 
the spirit of every owner who had tried to hang harness 
upon her rebellious frame. 

When, by Christmas of 1909, there was no doubt that, 
barring mishap, June should crown our enduring love with 
parenthood, our happiness was boundless. Jack was a new 
man all himself and something ineffably more. It showed 



186 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

in his every look, the touch of his hands, the vibration of 
his voice. When the latest volume, " Revolution, " came in 
the spring, this is what he wrote in the fly-leaf: 

"My Mate- Woman: 

"Not that I shall be able to tell you anything about revolu 
tion you, who in a few short weeks from now, will be prime mover 
in turning our Wake Robin household upside down with the most 
delicious and lovable revolution that we can ever hope to experi 
ence. 

"Mate Man. 
"Wake Robin Lodge, 
"April 24, 1910." 

Always I shall cherish, I think above all others, the 
memories of those months. Never had I been so joyful, nor 
so strong. It seems as if all nature with lavish hands con 
tributed to the making of the perfect child I desired and 
bore. i l How the birds do sing and shout ! raves my diary. 
11 meadow-larks, blue-jays, orioles, linnets and wild can 
aries bickering at bath and play ; gentle mourning-doves at 
twilight ; chattering, whirring quail in the warm woods, and 
quaint little owls calling by night. " And "Such flowered 
fields I never saw!" Not the least of our blisses was wan 
dering in the eucalyptus "forest," not yet knee-high, dream 
ing of when they should some day be over our heads on 
horse-back. "They ll only be a few months older than our 
boy ! Jack would say. 

We did not stay strictly at home, but harnessed young 
Maid and Ben in our light, yellow- wheeled run-about, packed 
writing materials and toilet articles, and drove for a week at 
a time about the country, stopping over wherever it looked 
good to us. "We three," Jack, at this sweetest height of 
living, would breathe leaning to my willing ear as the bays 
forged up mountainsides or dropped into the exquisite val 
leys. I have set down these words of his on an April 
morning: "Wife, little mother, sweetheart I cannot ex 
press the love I feel for you these days!" 



A DAUGHTER IS BORN 187 

One night we spent in Petaluma, and attended a per 
formance by an all but stranded company of itinerant play 
ers. * Tell you what, Mate Woman if you re game for it, 
Jack whispered, "let me send word behind for them all to 
join us at supper/ 7 

It was done. The affair came off. The troupe looked 
hungry, but partook sparingly of a very good repast, as 
if hesitating to divulg e their chronic emptiness. Jack 
was all keyed up to order cocktails, wine, champagne, 
anything to put them at their ease ; but one spoke for light 
beer, and the rest, every soul of them, insisted upon milk. 

Another journey was to Carmel-by-the-Sea, where we 
were guests of the George Sterlings. 

There is a remark in the diary concerning lack of excite 
ment in passing through the tail of Halley s Comet. 

Ernest Untermann, socialist, author, painter, and per 
haps best known as translator of Karl Marx, spent some 
time at Wake Robin, while other friends came and went. 
Eliza, Shepard, with her boy Irving, had come to live in 
the little Fish Ranch house, under what, we always main 
tained, was the biggest madrono in California; and Eliza 
shortly began to assist Jack in the business of the ranch, 
attending to accounts and " overhead. " For in May we 
had swelled our estate by the seven hundred acres of the 
Kohler property, and Jack needed such aid in carry 
ing out his headful of ambitions. "He s burgeoning with 
all sorts of happiness, 7 my journal recalls, "with love of 
the land, with his new mare, Gert the Outlaw why, his eyes 
glisten when he speaks of her; and with life and its 
promises. " In my copy of "Theft," a play he wrote for 
Olga Nethersole that spring, but which was never acted, he 
inscribed : 

"Dear My- Woman: 

How our days continue to grow fuller and sweeter ! 

l Your Lover-Man. 



188 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Speaking of "Theft," this time Jack considered he had 
written a fairly good play; but it went the rounds of the 
dramatic agencies in New York without being placed 
this after Miss Nethersole had decided against it. Besides 
" Theft," in the first half of 1910, Jack commenced a fan 
tastic piece of long fiction, "The Assassination Bureau." 
This, interrupted by the death of the baby, he never fin 
ished. Only death itself, it would seem, could compel that 
man to stay his hand. It is noteworthy that his only un 
completed work is this "The Assassination Bureau," and 
the novel left less than half finished when he himself went 
"into the dark." 

A short Klondike story, "The Night-Born," was also 
written that spring, and "The Human Drift," a synthesis 
of years of research into the great developing forces in 
human history. 

How much one can live through physically, mentally 
and splendidly recover from ! The baby was born upon high 
noon of Sunday, June 19, in an Oakland hospital. In my 
little old record I read : i Then came on the terrible hours, 
when Jack helped me, breathed with me, loved me and 

praised me " "We named her Joy, Mate and I." She 

was a beautiful baby, they told me, all who saw her. I was 
so near to fading out that I feared my strength would fail 
through sheer emotion if I looked at the little soul until I 
had had time to gather my forces; so they carried 
her away. When Eliza had come from Glen Ellen at Jack s 
bidding, she found him so radiant with relief after his own 
sharp strain, so excited telling her of the small one s fair 
skin and gray eyes, "Just like Mate s and mine. Anglo- 
Saxon through and through!" that she had difficulty in 
learning whether he was father to a son or a daughter. 
The fact that he had prayed for a boy was forgotten in the 
larger matter of a living, breathing child of whichever sex. 



A DAUGHTER IS BOEN 189 

What lie said was : "Boy or girl, it does n t matter so long 
as it s Charmian s!" 

Poor little Joy! The severity of her birth, coupled 
with certain unwisdom, or ignorance, in the handling of the 
same, within thirty-eight hours had cost her life. "A per 
fect child," they said, after those perfect months that went 
into the creation of her. I go on from some notes headed 
"First Thoughts": "He came to me, and Eliza, and, one 
on either side my bed, Mate told me with a brave, bright 
face. And I did not make it harder for him than I could 
help. But oh! the pity of it! Our own baby, our little 
daughter, ours, our Joy-Baby, only thirty-eight hours old 
gone in the twilight of the morning." 

The New York Herald had long ahead engaged Jack to 
write up the Jeffries- Johnson prizefight, wherever it should 
be staged, together with ten days observation, previous to 
the big event, of the contestants camps. Jack was no more 
loath to break his pledge than I to have him ; and it was with 
great satisfaction to me, for one, that I was pronounced 
out of danger from a slight operation, and that Jack could 
go away without apprehension. The prospective scene of 
the fight had been moved over California several times, and 
finally settled upon Eeno, Nevada, so I could not see my 
husband for the best part of two weks. He departed June 
22, and sent me daily "Lettergrams." On the morning of 
the fight, he wired: "I wish you were by my side to-day." 

It was reported, I am reminded by news clippings of 
that month, that "Jack London lost heavily on the Reno 
fight. But this could not be, since he laid but a few dollars 
at most, and a hat, a dinner, and so forth. 

And now, an episode, further to make clear Jack Lon 
don s reactions to the corrupt injustices that may surround 
such a man : 

Having fortified myself against shock by determining 
not to be shocked by anything, if I would live, on the third 



190 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

morning after the baby came I received in quiet the spec 
tacle of my handsome husband with one large optic neatly 
closed and plastered with what appeared to be pink paint. 

To my studiedly calm and interested inquiry, he frankly 
told me all about it. " I give the facts as he related them : 

Leaving me the day before, after breaking the baby s 
death, he had gone into Oakland s business center to at 
tend to final arrangements for his Reno journey. Winding 
up at the barber s, he then strolled, miserable and grieving, 
down Broadway. 

"You know how I hate walking," he broke in. "And I 
usually seem to get into trouble when I do walk! I swear 
I ll never walk again. Listen to what happened:" 

Noticing, in the windows of the Oakland Tribune office, 
a display of an "Autobiography of Jeffries," he bought 
several copies, thinking to pass them along to other cor 
respondents at Eeno. Continuing, absorbed in the morn 
ing s disaster to our hopes, he became aware that he had 
strayed into old haunts, down around Webster and Eighth 
and Ninth streets in his boyhood a respectable residential 
neighborhood, but now infested with Chinese gambling 
houses. 

As he went along, pondering the great change, he saw 
an American saloon, and near its main entrance a smaller 
door that suggested ingress to its lavatory. Entering, he 
found himself in a narrow passage-way, terminating in a 
large room behind the barroom proper, and evidently a 
night resort, judging from the tables and chairs. What ap 
peared to be two lavatory doors were at the farther end, 
opening out of a short hall that led into still another apart 
ment, where a lowering figure sat eating alone. 

Jack, with a salutation to which the other growled 
something he did not hear, opened a door and passed 
through. Before he had time to shut it behind him, the 
man had thrust his foot inside, threateningly ordering him 
out. 



A DAUGHTER IS BOEN 191 

"I believe he thought I was there to post on his walls 
some of the gaudy literature I had under my arm," Jack 
told me. At any rate, I was not in the mood for trouble, 
especially in such cramped space, and spoke in a conciliatory 
way while I got into the big room and made for the passage 
out, intending to escape as quick as God would let me. I 
knew his kind, and wanted none of him. And I thought of 
you, and of my promise to the New York Herald." 

What next took place the man s unprovoked attack, 
Jack s scientific stalling, never striking a blow, the ap 
pearance from the barroom of an audience of pasty-faced 
night-birds who came to look on, and his difficulty, once he 
had worked his way to the street, of getting an officer to con 
sent to arrest the dive-keeper all this he has graphically 
described in a short story, "The Benefit of the Doubt" 
(in volume "The Night Born"). 

What he did not include in the story was that it turned 
out that the Hebrew police judge who dared to sit on the 
case, was in truth owner of the resort. Jack learned of 
this through a letter from a well-wishing stranger, who sug 
gested he look up the records. When Eliza went to do this, 
every obstacle was put in her way; but she prevailed, and 
her homecoming with the notes she had made was an occa 
sion for triumphant celebration in the London household. 

The reporters, as always paid to "give Jack Lon 
don the worst of it wherever possible," hinted at the vilest 
construction upon his presence in the low resort. The San 
Francisco Bulletin account was the most decent because, 
according to Joseph Noel, in charge of the Oakland office, 
he offered to throw up his position rather than distort his 
friend s account of the one-sided scrimmage. 

Jack was keen for the trial, but got it postponed until 
after the Eeno prizefight. Never have I seen him so cut 
up as when the Judge dismissed the case, giving both com 
plainants "the benefit of the doubt," as faithfully told 
in the story of that name. And the exasperating newspaper 



192 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

lie as to his shaking hands with the dive-proprietor and 
their " departing for the nearest saloon, " is as accurately 
recorded. 

Jack worked off, in the fiction, a fantastic revenge. The 
eastern weekly s editor, before accepting the yarn, made 
sure through the author that he would not be liable for 
libel. Quite different from his usual eventual tolerance, 
Jack never forgave the Hebrew Judge. "Some day, some 
where, I am going to get him," he would say at long inter 
vals. "I shall watch him all years, and some time, when 
he least looks for it, I shall get him. I don t know just how 
perhaps it will be in thwarting his dearest ambition ; but 
mark my words, I intend to get him." Jack s countenance, 
no matter how one sympathized with his viewpoint, was not 
good to look upon at such a time. But his cards were played 
squarely, as always, face up on the table. He sent the fol 
lowing open letter (I typed it for him during convalescence) 
to the newspapers of San Francisco and Oakland, the same 
post carrying a copy to the magistrate that he might be pre 
pared for the writer s deadly interest in him: 

"Some day, somewhere, somehow, I am going to get 
you legally, never fear. I shall not lay myself open to the 
law. I know nothing about your past. Only now do I begin 
to interest myself in your past, and to keep an eye on your 
future. But get you I will, some day, somehow, and I shall 
get you to the full hilt of the law and the legal procedure 
that obtains among allegedly civilized men." 

One day, long afterward, out of a sudden whimsey, Jack 
had his sister telephone to arrange an interview for him in 
the office of that grafting judicator. "Oh, I intend no 
violence, he allayed my start ; " I just want to tell him a 
few. " But the other had hastily pleaded an imminent 
and important engagement elsewhere. Jack died unavenged, 
unless the Judge s conscience, or fear of his enemy, were 
punishment enough. 

It was mainly grit that carried Jack through the Eeno 



A DAUGHTER IS BORN 193 

period. He was miserably ill, probably from the effects of 
the Muldowney struggle, and coughed exhaustingly. 

The fiasco of the fight did not improve his spirits 
"It wasn t a fight, " he wrote me, "It was awful." 

Once back in Oakland, and the afternoons with me in 
hospital resumed, he told me he was having his sputum ex 
amined for traces of tuberculosis, for he was thoroughly 
alarmed at the obstinacy of the racking cough and soreness 
in his chest. With our customary rebound from carking 
care, the battered pair of us lost no time making tentative 
arrangements for a lengthy sojourn in high, dry Arizona, 
and presently were all alive with the details of equipment, 
saddles, clothing, books and work! The analysis of the 
sputum brought to light no evidence of active "T.B.," al 
though a scar that was located in Jack s bronchial tissue 
proved his own diagnosis not without foundation. 

"Well, that settles our Arizona vacation, " he smiled 
over a momentary regret. 

Another hospital memory is the day Jack said to me: 

"I went last night to the Macdonough to see the De Mille- 
Belasco production of The Woman/ And take it from me, 
my dear that play never would have been written if I had 
not written Theft 1 

I made him return to his Ranch and his writing, while 
I devoted every atom of energy to recuperating. In a letter 
of July 24, he begs me to Come home right away ; I 11 cut 
out the Jinks this year if you will ... I read your First 
Thoughts and two of your later letters, to Eliza last night ; 
and both she and I were in tears. 

But it was more than six weeks from June 19, before I 
was fit to travel. It was a deep obligation I put upon my 
self, then as ever, to take the best care of my health, that I 
might be "on deck" as much as possible. Jack s content 
depended so vitally upon the brightness of his household. 

The first day that I was able to mount a docile horse, 
Jack, bestriding his cheerful outlaw, led me from the idyllic 



194 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

site on the Beauty Banch where we had decided to build, 
into the forested ravine of Asbury Creek. To my aston 
ished exclamation at sight of a new bridle trail engineered 
upon its precipitous sides, he answered : 

"It s the Charmian Trail, Sweetheart, and I saved it 
for a surprise. 

From that time on, similar trail-making was continually 
in progress, until there came to be miles of these green zig 
zags within the boundaries of the Jack London Banch, 
opening up breath-taking views of the surrounding valleys 
and mountains. 

In addition to "The Benefit of the Doubt," the author, 
not yet in humor, from his aggregation of past troubles, to 
settle down to sustained effort, turned out some light 
stuff an airplane story, "Winged Blackmail"; "Bunches 
of Knuckles," containing a conversation, with a skipper, 
just as I had heard it aboard the Snark; "When the World 
Was Young," with a double-personality motif. Then he 
penned what he called a picture, or, rather, two successive 
pictures, entitled War, which he deemed one of his gems ; 
and the story To Kill a Man, which he also greatly liked. 
All the foregoing are bound in The Night Born. 

"Told in the Drooling Ward," a delightful study of the 
amiable egotism of a high-class idiot s psychology, but 
which Jack had difficulty in selling, was another 1910 pro 
duction; also "The Hobo and the Fairy," a dainty and 
wholesome tale, both of which will be found in "The Turtles 
of Tasman." 

While in Oakland, Jack had been called upon by "Bob" 
Fitzsimmons and his wife, Julia, and for their use in vaude 
ville he wrote a rather inconsequential skit, "The Birth 
Mark," which appears in "The Human Drift." The Fitz- 
simmonses visited us the first week in September, and * Bob, 
to the joy of Glen Ellen, forged a mighty horseshoe in the 
village smithy, which adorns a door frame of our cottaga 



A DAUGHTER IS BORN 195 

Next was begun "The Abysmal Brute, " hardly more 
than a long-short story, but subsequently published as a 
novelette a cleanly conceived bit of propaganda for the 
purifying of the prize-ring. Before the year was out, Jack 
had made a start on a series of a dozen Alaskan yarns, 
which are built around the central figure of "Smoke 
Bellew." 

Very little public speaking was heard from him that 
year a Memorial Day address in Sonoma, a lecture in Oak 
land, and another, in December, in the Auditorium Annex at 
Page and Fillmore Streets, San Francisco, in protest at the 
current murders of educators and reformers in Russia, in 
Japan, and, in particular, Spain s inexcusable execution of 
Francisco Ferrer. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 
YACHT "ROAMER" 

The End of 1910 

AT last, at last, Jack s search for a suitable inland yacht 
ended in mid-October, when a friend discovered for 
sale the thirty-foot yawl, Roamer, once the fast sloop Iris. 
A personal try-out convinced us of her eminent qualifica 
tions, despite her ripe years which were rumored to be at 
least forty. We schemed a better galley forward, installed 
a little coal-stove for winter warmth and cooking, and 
had the hull and rigging overhauled. 

For it was meant that I, from my salt heredity, and 
practice both before and after marriage, should be Jack s 
true shipmate. None so keenly as I, perhaps, can appreciate 
his own words, written on board the Roamer in Sonoma 
Creek, the next spring: 

"Once a sailor, always a sailor. The savour of the salt never 
stales. The sailor never grows so old that he does not care to go 
back for one more wrestling bout with wind and wave. I live 
beyond sight of the sea. Yet I can stay away from it only so long. 
After several months have passed, I begin to grow restless. I find 
myself day-dreaming over incidents of the last cruise, or wonder 
ing if the striped bass are running on Wingo Slough, or eagerly 
reading the newspapers for reports of the first northern flight of 
ducks. And then, suddenly, there is a hurried packing of suit 
cases and overhauling of gear, and we are off for Vallejo where 
the little Roamer lies, waiting, always waiting, for the skiff to 
come alongside, for the lighting of the fire in the galley-stove, for 
the pulling off of gaskets, the swinging up of the mainsail, and the 
rat-tat-tat of the reef-points, for the heaving short and the break- 

196 



YACHT "ROAMEB" 197 

ing out, and for the twirling of the wheel as she fills away and 
heads up Bay or down." 

With Nakata and the cook, Yamamoto (an intellectual 
socialist later abstracted back to his native islands by the 
long arm of the Mikado), we set sail on October 17, from 
Oakland, across the Bay of San Francisco, "than which, " 
to quote my captain, "no lustier, tougher sheet of water 
can be found for small boat sailing/ for an up-river cruise. 

Two days earlier I had found upon my desk a fresh, sky- 
blue volume entitled l Burning Daylight, into which. Jack 
had woven so much of our daily blessedness. This is the 
inscription : 

"A sweet land, Mate Woman, an almighty sweet land you and 
I have chosen our Valley of the Moon, 

"Your Own Man, 

" Jack London. " 

My old, old dream come true to see with Jack this stage 
of his youthful performances! He looked much like his 
piratical early self, I fancy, in blue dungaree and the time- 
honored "tain" pulled down, with a handful of curls, over 
his sailor-blue eyes that roved incessantly for changes and 
found comparatively few. I had the privilege, at Vallejo 
near the yacht club, of seeing the meeting between Jack and 
an old crony or two as Charley Le Grant, so often men 
tioned in "Tales of the Fish Patrol"; and another time, 
threading Sonoma Creek s delta of sloughs to the tuneful 
sound of blackbirds throats, into our own valley within eye- 
reach of our own mountain fastnesses, to Jack s unbounded 
delight we came upon a venerable, rickety little French 
Frank of Idler memory, keeper of a duck-hunting club 
shack. Debonair and gallant Frank still was, though all his 
jealous fires and furies had long since been drawn. And 
ludicrously tactful was he, before "Jack s lady," in refer 
ences to the wild 90s he and the lady s husband had shared 



198 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

in common. Having convinced him I was no ogress his 
tongue loosened in spicy reminiscence, abetted by a bottle 
of red wine. 

What a blissful passage it was, this first Roamer voy 
age, only to be surpassed by the second and the third, and 
so on. "Snarking once more," Jack named it; honeymoon 
ing upon the face of the winding waters; fanning into 
Benicia to the sunset melody of birds in the rushes; run 
ning across that " large, draughty, variegated piece of 
water, " Suisun Bay, where the great scows we had both 
learned to respect came charging down, grain-laden; pick 
ing our way in the "Middle Ground " channels, and gliding 
close-hauled into Black Diamond "in the fires of sunset, 
where the Sacramento and the San Joaquin tumble their 
muddy floods together"- to port the hazy, Aztec unreality 
of the tawny-rose Montezuma Hills palpitating in the west 
ering sunlight ; to starboard the low brown banks with green 
upstanding fringes of rustling tules; all about red-sailed 
fishing boats homing for the night ; and old Black Diamond s 
lazy water-front and lazier streets sloping upward toward 
the Contra Costa Hills; and, in the morning, Diablo 
crumpled against an azure dome. 

Once, off a tree-plumed island in the pictureful delta, a 
gay "red-light" barge, with its painted ladies, anchored 
within hailing distance of the Roamer. " I 11 take you aboard 
to-morrow evening early, if you d like," Jack volunteered; 
and I was glad enough for a new experience with him. 
But the next day he was invited by the principal, Professor 
Vickers, to speak to the school children of the town across 
river, which he consented to do, in a brief talk on "The 
Call of the Wild"; and when we were once more aboard, 
he said soberly: 

"I guess we won t go adventuring next-door to-night, 
Mate it might offend the good people ashore if they found 
it out. They wouldn t understand how you and I go about 
together. Also, there might possibly be folks on the barge 



YACHT "ROAMER" 199 

whom youVe seen about and who wouldn t want you to see 
them there. So we ll just give it up and wait for a better 
chance. 

I think it was about this time Jack illustrated his belief 
in the innate goodness of even very low unfortunates, by tell 
ing me how, when he was a mere stripling, his pockets had 
been rifled by one of the women companions of his associates 
up-river. "But do you know she only took exactly half 
of what I had, he said. l I never forgot that. It was bad, 
of course, but it was only half-bad at worst, and showed she 
had some heart of softness left in her toward a mere boy 
like me." 

It was while we lay off the town of Antioch, in this 
region, that Jack recounted to me the laughable story of 
how he and his mates netted a score of illicit fishermen ; but 
that is for all to read " Charley s Coup," in "The Fish 
Patrol" group. 

Together we came to know the rivers and serpentine 
sloughs, with their foreign inhabitants, as Jack had known 
them aforetime; only, now, the dwellers upon and behind 
the willowed dykes had become increasingly foreign. This 
gave rise to many "human drift" speculations upon my 
skipper s part, later used in "The Valley of the Moon." 
I am reminded in passing, the young hero and his com 
rade wife run across a pseudo Roomer and its master and 
mate. 

Among other features new to Jack, was the growth of 
the Japanese-Chinese village of Walnut Grove. Here we 
poked about among tortuous roofed streets lined with 
gambling dens, stores, geisha houses and tea-shops, enter 
tained in these latter by the pretty toy-like women, with 
saki, and raw bonita soaked in soyu sauce, to the debatable 
harmony of samisens. 

Jack, snugly at anchor, his work punctually disposed of, 
read intensively upon agriculture, devoured a plunder of 
countless old books he had been collecting upon western 



200 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Plains migration, and laid deep and deeper foundation for 
Ranch development and stock-raising. "I devoted two 
solid years," he has written, "to the study of the migra 
tions toward the West of America, being moved to it per 
haps by the fact that my people came from the Middle 
West." 

Everywhere he used his eyes, bent upon seeing what the 
other fellow was doing in the vast fields of California, 
making me the willing repository of his plans as he worked 
them out. Often, while I shopped or walked or rowed in 
the skiff for exercise, he drifted about the towns, meeting 
men, going to their farms, inspecting cattle and horses. 
He bought a draft-mare, June, a striking creature, black 
and proud, who came to live on the Ranch and become the 
mother of several colts. 

Jack was living so fully a life balanced with essential 
interests and endeavor and simplest of amusements. The 
test, I am sure, he undertook deliberately. To him relaxa 
tion consisted not in cessation but in change of thought 
and occupation. The vessel all in order, laid against a 
river-bank for the night, he would sit, placidly smoking 
in the blue dungarees and old tarn, humped comfortably 
on deck, his soft-shod feet hanging over the rail, line over 
board for cat-fish or black bass. Meanwhile he would argue 
for long with Nakata or the cook, in all the ardent simplicity 
of a sailor in the fo c s le, some trifling point say relative 
sizes of fish each had hooked the day before ; or there would 
be a jokingly heated disagreement as to the payment of a 
penny wager a week old; or the three, stopping to catch 
laughing breath, feverishly laid new bets against the eve 
ning s basket. Jack was always ready to chuckle over it all, 
should I remind him of his reversion to fo c s le methods. 

To a Sacramento reporter at this time, Jack said : "I am 
a Westerner, despite my English name. I realise that much 
of California s romance is passing away, and I intend to see 



YACHT "ROAMER" 201 

to it that I, at least, shall preserve as much of that romance 
as is possible for me. I am making of The Valley of the 
Moon 7 a purely Calif ornian novel it starts with Oakland 
and ends in Sonoma." 

He was an unfailing wonder to me, my Jack London 
my mentor his continuous cerebration to every impact, 
mental, physical, awake, and asleep; always young, al 
ways old, always wise, with "a bigness of heart that kept 
conscience with itself"; efficient dreamer, harnessed to his 
work for the sake of Heart s Desire, which included the 
discharge of so many responsibilities penalties of pa 
triarchy. How vivid he rises, standing on his handsome 
legs at the wheel, those robust, muscle-rounded shoulders 
leaning back upon a howling norther before which we fled, 
tense, caution on hair-trigger, uncapturable thoughts be 
hind his deep, wide eyes, lips parted, and that great chest 
expanding to breeze and effort. One man has written me : 
"I remember Jack London above all by his beautiful 
chest. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen." 

December saw us home at Wake Robin, trying to come 
abreast with work that had piled up during the cruise. 
" Poor little woman! She has to pay for her fun!" Jack 
turned from his desk to where I was filing letters and notes. 
"But it s worth it!" Again, suddenly wheeling around, 
"How good it is to have a satisfying love. Mate, I love 
you more than I ever did in my first days of madness. It s 
different but I love you more." And he had a way of 
blowing involuntary kisses in the air when I spoke to him. 
How good it all was ! I am reminded of Browning s : 

" There s your smile! 

Your hand s touch! and the long day that brings 
Half -uttered nothings of delight." 

While we spent hours poring over the Wolf House draw 
ings, twenty men were setting out twenty thousand addi- 



202 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

tional eucalyptus. And Jack s funds, despite our bound 
less plans, were sinking low. 

1 Well, I ve got five hundred dollars in bank, and an 
eight-hundred-dollar life-insurance premium due," he an 
nounced. " Doesn t balance up very well, does it? But 
never fear * Smoke Belle w will pull us even with the bills. 
Guess we ll accept that invitation from Felix Peano to 
move into his Los Angeles house for a month. It ll be a 
nice winter change, and I can forget my creditors easier at 
a distance, while I m slaving to pay them!" 

He always referred to "Smoke Bellew" as "hack 
work," strictly excluding the last story, "Love of Woman," 
which he strove to make one of his best. The "hack" 
turned out to be a great favorite with the male readers of 
his average public. It would seem that Jack London s 
work, third-best, or worse, could never be bad. Light it 
might sometimes be, comparatively unimportant; but it 
was impossible reservoir of learning, and imagination, 
and emotion that he was that he should ever turn out 
trash. 

The Cosmopolitan later asked for a continuation of 
"Smoke Bellew," and the while Jack considered its popu 
larity in light of means to keep up the enormous expense 
of house-building, I suggested sailing Smoke and Shorty 
into the South Seas for a series of adventurings, for he had 
been longing again to dip his pen into tropic colors. This 
he considere d ; but all at once he threw up the whole thing : 

"I m tired writing pot-boilers ! I won t do another one 
unless I have to !" And in March, the twelve off his hands, 
he went at the David Grief series, these romances, crack 
er jacks," Jack referred to them, being issued as "A Son 
of the Sun." 

So January, 1911, was spent in the Westlake District 
of Los Angeles, while "Smoke Bellew" went forward, and 
chance visitors were regaled with readings from the man 
uscript. We took along our two Japanese, and had my 



YACHT "ROAMER" 203 

Aunt, now Mrs. Edward B. Payne, and her husband, as 
house-guests. It was a very jolly arrangement we, ac 
cepting our sculptor-friend s roomy house, he, our hospi 
tality of table and service. Jack s thirty-fifth birthday 
was celebrated in this pleasant cottage. Besides entertain 
ing, our amusements numbered much attendance at the 
theaters, swimming in the city s salt tanks, a captive bal 
loon ascension, canoeing on Westlake hard by, feeding 
the swans and reading aloud, and a run to Santa Catalina 
Island. On this last excursion Jack said my Aunt and 
her husband must go with us she having visited the big 
island with my own mother long before I was born. 

One of my commissions while south was to look up a 
suitable four-in-hand of light horses for a summer trip to 
northern California and Oregon. I succeeded in obtaining 
a trio, more or less ill-assorted, which was shipped home. 
Upon our own return, Jack had up from Glen Ellen his 
old friend "Bill" Ping mentioned in more than one of his 
books to consult about reinforcing the Winship two- 
seated "cut-under," for the heavy going, and the proper 
harness. Mr. Ping, one of the splendid passing type of 
old-time stage-drivers, who in his day had tooled his six on 
the Overland Trail, was sent to San Francisco to order 
harness; also a whip with an eleven-foot lash which Jack, 
after a surprisingly short trial, learned to crack with a 
brave report, but seldom used. 

Mr. Ping being busy with his own affairs, another stage 
driver, of a younger generation, was hired to put the* 
team in shape and instruct us in the gentle art of guiding 
its four mouths and sixteen wayward feet. Jack, as al 
ways, mastered the thing perfectly, knowing, move by 
move, precisely how he did it; while I, to his laughing, 
almost mocking admiration, "got the hang of it" by way 
of emulation and my "horse instinct," doing it well one 
day and not so well the next. 



204 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

The Lily Maid was one of our guests in March, and Jack 
never appeared to better advantage than in his kindness 
to her, still pleasuring in her mantle of yellow English 
hair. For her health was but poorly, and when she could 
not come to table, with Jack s own hands Nakata s nicely 
appointed trays were carried to one of the little woodsy 
guest-cabins we had built. 

We had formulated a printed slip that frequently went 
into Jack s correspondence along with socialist and agri 
cultural folders, reading as follows : 

"We live in a beautiful part of the country, about two hours 
from San Francisco by two routes, the Southern Pacific and the 
Northwestern Pacific. 

"Both trains (or boats connecting with trains) leave San Fran 
cisco about 8 a. m. 

"The p. m. Southern Pacific train (boat) leaves San Francisco 
about 4 o clock. 

"The p. m. Southern Pacific train can be connected with at 
16th Street Station, Oakland, also. 

"If you come in the afternoon, it is more convenient for us if 
you take the Southern Pacific route, as it arrives here in time for 
our supper. We usually ask our guests to dine on the boat, if 
they come by the Northwestern Pacific. 

"Write (or telephone) in advance of your coming, because we 
are frequently away from home. Also, if we are at home, word 
from you will make it so we can have a rig at the station to meet 
you. 

"Be sure to state by what rouie y and by what train, you will 
arrive. 

Our life here is something as follows : 

1 We rise early, and work in the forenoon. Therefore, we do not 
see our guests until afternoons and evenings. You may breakfast 
from 7 till 9, and then we all get together for dinner at 12:30. 
You will find this a good place to work, if you have work to do. 
Or if you prefer to play, there are horses, saddles, and rigs. In 
the summer we have a swimming pool. 

"We have not yet built a house of our own, and are living in 



YACHT "ROAMER" 205 

a small house adoining our ranch. So our friends are put up in 
little cabins near by, to sleep." 

I have come across a verse by Foss, which so expresses 
Jack s deep heart of hospitality that I steal space to 
quote : 

"Let me live in a house by the side of the road, 

Where the race of men goes by 

The men who are good and the men who are bad, 

As good and as bad as I. 
I would not sit in the scorner s seat, 

Or hurl the cynic s ban 

Let me live in a house by the side of the road 
And be a friend to man." 

He was always buying blankets; never so happy as 
when all the beds were full. His heart was soft, and all 
were treated alike friend, stranger, of whatsoever estate. 
I remember the pleased look that crossed his face when I 
related how, while I was buying a riding suit in a San 
Francisco shop, the fitter said to me : 

"Mrs. Jack London? Oh, I heard something so lovely 
about your place that no one, even when you people are 
not home, is ever allowed to go away without being en 
tertained!" 

It was in October Jack placed in my hands the story of 
his wayward flight across the continent, "The Road/ The 
inscription is one of his most generous : 

"Dearest My Woman: 

"Whose efficient hands I love the hands that have worked for 
me long hours and many, swiftly and deftly, and beautifully in the 
making of music, the hands that have steered the Snark through 
wild passages and rough seas, that do not tremble on a trigger, 
that are sure and strong on the reins of a Thoroughbred or of an 
untamed Marquesan stallion ; the hands that are sweet with love as 
they pass through my hair, firm with comradeship as they grip 
mine, and that soothe as only they of all hands in the world can 
sootne - "Your Man and Lover," 



206 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Of course many calls were made upon Jack s time and 
purse. And " purse " reminds me that he never carried 
other than the slender chamois gold-dust sack that he had 
learned to use in the Klondike. He was obliged to work 
out circular letters to cover such exigencies as he was un 
able to comply with. Here is an example in a copy of a 
letter written to a young writer : 

* In reply to yours of recent date undated and returning here 
with your Manuscript. First of all let me tell you that, as a psy 
chologist and as one who has been through the mill, I enjoyed your 
story for its psychology and point of view. Honestly and frankly, 
I did not enjoy it for its literary charm or value. In the first 
place, it has little literary value and practically no literary charm. 
Merely because you have got something to say that may be of inter 
est to others does not free you from making all due effort to express 
that something in the best possible medium and form. Medium and 
form you have utterly neglected. 

1 Anent the foregoing paragraph ; what is to be expected of any 
lad ot twenty, without practice, in knowledge of medium and form ? 
Heavens on earth, boy, it would take you five years to serve your 
apprenticeship and become a skilled blacksmith. Will you dare 
to say that you have spent, not five years, but as much as five 
months of unimpeachable, unremitting toil in trying to learn the 
artisan s tools of a professional writer who can sell his stuff to the 
magazines and receive hard cash for same ? Of course you cannot ; 
you have not done it. And yet you should be able to reason on the 
face of it that the only explanation for the fact that successful 
writers receive such large fortunes is because very few who desire 
to write become successful writers. If it takes five years work to 
become a skilled blacksmith how many years of work intensified 
into nineteen hours a day, so that one year counts for five, 
how many years of such work, studying medium and form, art 
and artisanship, do you think a man, with native talent and some 
thing to say, requires in order to reach a place in the world of 
letters where he receives a thousand dollars cash iron money per 
week? 

"I think you get the drift of the point I am trying to make. 
If a fellow harnesses himself to a star of $1000 a week he has to 



YACHT "ROAMER" 207 

work proportionately harder than if he harnesses himself to a 
little glowworm of $20 a week. The only reason there are more 
successful blacksmiths in the world than successful writers is that 
it is much easier, and requires far less hard work, to become a suc 
cessful blacksmith than does it to become a successful writer. 

1 It cannot be possible that you, at twenty, should have done the 
work at writing that would merit you success in writing. You have 
not begun your apprenticeship yet. The proof of it is the fact 
that you dared to write this manuscript, * A Journal of One Who is 
to Die. Had you made any sort of study of what is published in 
the magazines you would have found that your short story was of 
the sort that never was published in the magazines. If you are 
going to write for success and money you must deliver to the 
market marketable goods. Your short story is not marketable 
goods, and had you taken half a dozen evenings off and gone into a 
free reading room and read all the stories published in the current 
magazines you would have learned in advance that your short 
story was not marketable goods. 

"There s only one way to make a beginning, and that is to begin ; 
and begin with hard work, patience, prepared for all the disap 
pointments that were Martin Eden s before he succeeded which 
were mine before I succeeded because I merely appended to my 
fictional character, Martin Eden, my own experiences in the writ 
ing game. 

"Jack London/ 



The next letter here appended, he used to send out be 
fore he came to decide to read every manuscript that came 
his way, and encourage the sending to him. He found that 
in refusing to avail of such opportunities, he was depriv 
ing himself of just so many chances to study the wayward 
seed of man : 

" Every time a writer tells the truth about a manuscript (or 
book), to a friend-author, he loses that friend, or sees that friend 
ship dim and fade away to a ghost of what it was formerly. 

" Every time a writer tells the truth about a manuscript (or 
book), to a stranger-author, he makes an enemy. 



208 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"If the writer loves his friend and fears to lose him, he lies to 
his friend. 

"But what s the good of straining himself to lie to strangers? 

"And, with like insistence, what s the good of making enemies 
anyway ? 

Furthermore, a known writer is overwhelmed by requests from 
strangers to read work and pass judgment upon it. This is proper 
ly the work of a literary bureau. A writer is not a literary bureau. 
If he is foolish enough to become a literary bureau, he will cease 
to be a writer. He won t have any time to write. 

"Also, as a charitable literary bureau, he will receive no pay. 
Wherefore he will soon be bankrupt, and himself live upon the 
charity of his friends (if he has not already made them all enemies 
by telling them the truth), while he will behold his wife and chil 
dren wend their melancholy way to the poorhouse. 

"Sympathy for the struggling unknown is all very well. It is 
beautiful but there are so many struggling unknowns, some 
thing like several millions of them. And sympathy can be worked 
too hard. Sympathy begins at home. The writer would far rather 
allow the multitudinous unknowns to remain unknown, than allow 
his near and dear ones to occupy pauper pallets and potter s fields. 

"Sincerely yours, 

"Jack London/ 

In extreme cases, I have known him to send out copies 
of Richard Le Gallienne s " Letter to an Unsuccessful Lit 
erary Man," a document that leaves little to be said. 

Requests for money usually found his responsive. He 
used some discernment, however, declining to be " touched " 
too often by certain men who took Mm more freely for 
granted than he liked; with some others, he blithely kissed 
hand to his dollars when telling me of his gifts and " loans." 
And 

"Oh, well, Mate money s only good for what it can 
buy. It buys me happiness to buy happiness for others. 
Don t hoard money. You can t take it with you when you 
go into the dark J that was a concept he had inculcated for 
all time into the rapidly simplifying philosophy that had 



YACHT "KOAMER" 209 

followed his " opening of the books. " The disadvantageous, 
soul-belittling influence of poverty had been practically 
banished for the span of his existence on this competitive 
planet. I smile as I handle the cancelled checks of many 
dates, to hear that husky, half -apologe tic : "They ve all 
dreamed their dream. Who am I not to help, now that I 
can. And these have realized their dream only a little 
less, after all, than the rest of mankind. . . . But it does 
give me joy," with a smile into my eyes, "when what my 
money does for others receives some little appreciation of 
the pleasure or comfort it buys!" 

In mid- April the Eoamer all "ship-shape and Bristol 
fashion" from Nakata s deft brown hands, sailed on a 
month s cruise, while Eliza superintended architect and 
house construction, and colts and calves increased, and 
orchard and house-vineyard took root in the gentle ter 
raced amphitheater behind the rising red-stone pile that 
was to be our castle. 

During this absence, Eliza saw her chance to buy, at 
a price her brother had been waiting for, a section of 
some twelve acres right in the heart of the big Kohler 
ranch already ours, on which stood the buildings large and 
small of the old Kohler and Frohling winery of other days, 
all in sad but picturesque disrepair from neglect topped 
with the Great Earthquake. 

This out-door life was the best thing that could 
happen to Jack, who had been suffering from one severe 
cold after another, coupled with repeated sties on his 
eyelids, and much nerve-rack from his teeth this last, of 
course, being nothing unusual. I marvel to think of his 
eternal patience with pain; probably he was never, for 
years at a time, free from pain or at least discomfort. 
And there was his ever present joy in my own good teeth 
"Woman!" he would cry, "you don t know how lucky 
you are!" 

Before launching out for the coast on our northern 



210 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

trek, Jack asked me, what I had been anticipating for 
some time: 

"Do you think we could fix up that old cottage on the 
Kohler, to live in until the Wolf House is done!" 

It was a six-room, one-story frame house once occupied 
by the heads of the winery, and now in a shocking state. 
Subsequent Italian lessees of the vineyard had made a 
veritable dump of it and its old garden of foreign trees 
and shrubbery. I was dubious enough to reply : 

"Honestly, I don t think we can." 

But my partner had, for once, evidently made up his 
mind before consulting me, and presently I entered into 
the spirit of making the place as attractive as possible. 
Besides, it was, at worst, a consummation of our mutual 
desire to live in the very center of the Ranch activities 
now afoot. 

The cottage came to be our sleeping and working quar 
ters, including two guest-rooms, while in one side of the 
enormous winery were built others; workmen s family 
quarters being created on the other, and a new roof shingled 
over all. 

Quite a ceremonial it was with the Japanese, getting 
ready Jack s bedside table for the night. Sharp pencils 
there must be plenty, scratch pads, big and little; many 
packages of Imperiales, " and fine Korean brass ash 
tray; his ubiquitous little red-velvet pin-cushion with pins 
driven in to their heads; files of papers and magazines 
neatly arranged on a lower section of the table, according 
to dates, the latest on top; a dish of fruit, or, lacking fruit, 
of some favorite dried fish or other "dainty." And 
finally, there were no less than three bottles of liquid of 
one sort or another. For Jack always maintained that 
it was a mercy, with his almost uninterrupted smoking, the 
alcohol he consumed, and certain sedentary spells when 
he took little exercise, that he "breathed through the skin" 
by which he meant free perspiring. Therefore, he drank 



YACHT "ROAMER" 211 

almost excessive quantities of this and that favorite bev 
erage grapejuice, buttermilk, and endless draughts of 
water. These, according to the whim, in cool thermos bot 
tles, stood in an inviting row on the bedside table, and were 
always empty in the morning. 

Papers and magazines, ravished of whatever in the way 
of information he wished to file as notes, were flung upon 
the floor; letters, envelopes, all small matter that was 
finished with, he carefully crumpled lest Nakata or the 
house-boy should put them back where he would have to 
handle them again. Sometimes, dropping off to sleep, cig 
arette between his lips, he singed his curls, exploded a 
celluloid eyeshade, or burned small round holes in sheet or 
pillow. As for pillows, he liked them large, three of them, 
with a very small one for that left elbow which supported 
him so many, many hours. 

This dwelling was the only one of his very own in which 
Jack London ever lived and in which he continued to live 
until he died within its old book-lined walls. It was into 
this house we moved upon our return from the four-horse 
adventure, which began in early June and ended in early 
September, 1911. 






CHAPTER XXXIV 

FOUE-HOESE DEIVING-TEIP ; NEW YOEK CITY 
1911 

FROM Glen Ellen to the Coast, and north to Bandon, 
Oregon, was our route ; thence inland to Medf ord and 
Ashland, and southward through the interior fifteen hun 
dred miles altogether. Jack wrote forenoons before start 
ing out, and our average drive was thirty miles. "Four 
Horses and a Sailor, " written primarily for a Northern 
Counties promotion object, published in Sunset Magazine 
(collected in "The Human Drift "), is based upon this 
summer s journeying, as is also the wagon-travel episode 
in "The Valley of the Moon." 

We did not camp. Before ever Jack London and I came 
to "hunt in pairs" he had had enough "roughing" to last 
out his life, and our migrations were invariably attended 
by one or more helpers. Nakata packed, put up lunches, on 
hottest afternoons hoisted the big brown sunshade that 
clamped to the back of the driver s seat, kept our 
"gear" in order and sometimes assisted in harnessing the 
antic four-footed quartet, I typed Jack s manuscript on a 
small machine, and he steadily ground out the wherewithal 
for our subsistence as well as the big things left doing at 
home. Watching him in this phase, exhilarated with the 
youth and beauty of the summer world of out-doors, I 
caught myself thinking of him as driving a team of stars ; 
for he harnessed the very stars to do his work his lines 
reaching to the stuff of which the stars are made. 

But sometimes, as more often on days when I was not 

212 



FOUB-HOBSE DEIVING-TEIP 213 

so bright as usual (I drove little, finding my strength was 
not quite equal to the weight of those long leathers in my 
hands for hours on end) furtively I watched Jack s face; 
and there was that in it I had never seen before the death 
of our child. It made more difference to him than any one, 
even I, then realized. On the evenings of such days, our 
goal reached, horses properly housed, and hotel or farm 
accommodations made sure, he was most likely to drift off 
alone down-street, looking for " inhibitions a word he 
worked a great deal at the time of man-talk, new associa 
tion, and an extra glass or two. When he would return, 
there was a more than common glisten in his always lus 
trous eyes, a trifle of feverishness in the telling of what he 
had picked up in the way of local information or backwoods 
lore, a super-enthusiasm about the newest antlers of elk 
or deer for which he was bargaining, or the bearskin so- 
and-so had promised to bring for my inspection. 

For a period of two or three years after the baby s loss, 
which included a second unlooked-for disappointment, my 
health was not of the best ; but I was wary to avoid giving 
any possible impression to Jack that I linked my lack of 
freshness in any way with maternal misfortunes. I had 
early discovered that the slightest suggestion of such a 
thing irritated him instantly and beyond sympathy. He 
was as automatically touchy about this as he was concern 
ing hysteria. Not much would he say, but his few words 
had showed me that he harbored a deep-rooted, resentful 
opinion that the majority of womenfolk held their men 
responsible for all the consequences of reproduction ! 

Beside a number of the David Grief episodes, Jack wrote 
among other stories "The Prodigal Father, " and "By the 
Turtles of Tasman" (both in "The Turtles of Tasman"), 
"The End of the Story," and "The Mexican " (in "The 
Night Born"). 

Much he enjoyed the horses- their characters and ca- 



214 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

prices: Prince, his sugar-tongue hanging out on all occa 
sions, Prince the " Love-Horse, " Jack called him, with his 
laughing eye and friendly hoof-shake and the pocket-seek 
ing of his mischievous muzzle ; Sonoma Maid, the excellent 
and wise; Gert the irascible outlaw who yet did her work 
and came to bury all the other three when Jack himself had 
gone ; and Hilda, variously dubbed the Eabbit, the Bat, the 
Manger-Glutton Milda, who asked nothing of anybody but 
to let her do her work and win to her supper by the least 
circuitous route. 

For the sake of any who would care to follow in our 
track, I briefly outline the same. But first, there was a trial- 
trip of one week from Glen Ellen to Petaluma; thence to 
Olima on Tamales Bay ; Point Eeyes, and the Light House, 
Willow Camp on the coast; from there on the wonderful 
coast drive and across Mt. Tamalpais feet to Mill Valley. 
The long uninterrupted trip was as follows : 

Glen Ellen to Santa Eosa, and Sebastopol where one 
sees Luther Burbank s flowering and fruiting fields, to Bo 
dega Corners ; Duncan s Mills ; Cazadero ; Fort Eoss, on the 
coast, of historic interest ; Gualala where one may fish and 
boat on the river; Greenwood; Fort Bragg; Hardy; Usal; 
Moody s; Garberville; thence along Eel Eiver, where deer 
come down to drink, to Dyerville. From this section the 
tourist may cut inland to the Hoopah Indian Eeservation. 
This we did, by automobile and saddle, coming out down the 
Trinity and Klamath Eivers in a dugout with Indian ca- 
noemen to Eequa by the sea ; next, to Fortuna, with fishing 
and hunting and old Indians along the way; Eureka; Trini 
dad; Kirkpatrick s. Crescent City, in the northwest corner 
of California, where one gathers jewels, agates of marvelous 
colorings, in the ocean sands; on to Smith Eiver Corners, 
and into Oregon, to Colgrove s Mountain Eanch ; Laurence s 
on Pistol Eiver; Gold Beach, on Eogue Eiver; Port Orford; 
Langlois ; then to Bandon, Coos County, whence we struck 
inland to Coquille; Eock Creek; Murray s, Eoseburg; Can- 



FOUE-HOESE DEIVING-TEIP 215 

yonville ; Wolf Creek ; Grant s Pass ; Medford, with a motor 
trip to that marvel, Crater Lake ; Ashland ; down into Cali 
fornia again, Montague; Weed; driving within sight of 
grand Mt. Shasta; Dunsmuir; Le Moyne; Kennett; Eed- 
ding; Eed Bluff; Orland; Willows; Maxwell; Leesville; 
Lower Lake; Middleton; Calistoga and home to Glen 
Ellen by way of the Petrified Forest. 

One sparkling afternoon on the Bay of Eureka, I had 
an opportunity to observe my husband in a crucial moment 
of judgment and fearlessness. What a ringing challenge 
that man was to the courage of all (except the spiritually 
deaf, dumb, and blind), who were privileged to know him! 
How seldom he ever reached into his own vocabulary for 
the word fear! Burned into my memory is something he 
said early in our comradeship : 

"I think I am really afraid of but thing being hit over 
the head from behind. Oh, not from fear of death never ! 
But to live with my brain addled it s unthinkable ! 

It was our pastime, while visiting in a luxurious house 
boat, to go fishing or to sail down the harbor and, if not 
too rough, cross the bar and cruise a little way toward the 
blue Pacific horizon that was forever a receding Paradise. 
On this day, tacking up-bay on the satin swell, a big rakish 
power-launch, full speed ahead, came bearing down upon 
us. There was plenty of room, and Jack, knowing the sail 
boat s traditional right of way, naturally kept on his 
course, expecting to pass the other to port. But her pilot 
kept right on for us, and to avoid being sliced squarely 
amidship, Jack in a flash spun his wheel to starboard, to 
bring her up into the wind, while the other, who must 
have been dreaming, suddenly with terrified face swerved to 
his left and took with him the starboard corner of our stern 
rail. 

It all happened in the space of three seconds, but there 
remains, snap, snap, one of the sharpest moving-pictures 
in my experience. At the last least instant, with the high 



216 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

knife-edge bow right upon us, I, the first law of existence 
automatically superseding any sentimental desire to be 
cloven in twain even in company with the spouse of my 
bosom, had jumped just forward of where the crash would 
occur. Turning as instantly as I landed, ready to dive if 
necessary, I took in Jack s incredibly quick action with the 
wheel, his cool, calm, fighting face, and heard, saw, and felt 
the splintering of the rail. 

"You did exactly the right thing, he reassured my 
tentative inquiry. I had my hands full, and did not have 
to worry about you. I had to stay at the wheel and do the 
only thing that could be done to save the sloop. . . . Some 
day, though," and he more than once warned me of this, 
"my curiosity in seeing the thing through is going to be my 
finish!" But I always banked on his mental and steel- 
springed physical alertness to save himself just short of 
annihilation. 

So I rested fairly comfortably upon his opinion that I 
had done "the right thing," until one day in his Bad Year, 
1913, when he, in a dreadful depth, brought up the action. 
It followed upon something I had just done. We had been 
driving behind a wicked roan gelding, of irreproachable 
breeding, who bore an evil reputation for running away 
and smashing things several on the Kanch, including 
Eliza, had at various times been thrown out and injured. 
The horse, this afternoon, had balked, and plunged sidewise, 
cramping the buggy until the wheels cracked. Unless I 
could have the reins in my own hands, I preferred being in 
Jack s care to any driver I knew so expert had he become. 
But we were in a tight pinch, and without warning I sprang 
to the ground and to the animal s head to straighten him 
out. It was wrong, I admit, and mortifying to the driver. 
I should have stayed beside him and "seen it through," as 
I had before and many times afterward. It was the cap 
stone to a series of vexations to Jack, ending in one of his 
superb "disgusts" with the universe of which I was an 



FOUR-HORSE DRIVING-TRIP 217 

important part; and lie brought up the Eureka incident. 

i But I know I am not a coward, I remonstrated to an 
accusation he had not voiced but which smoldered in his 
purple eyes. "And you know it, too, you! IVe nerves, 
but never cowardice !" 

Jack s retractions and apologies, generous if rare, were 
among the sweetest of the silken ties that bound us forever. 
And, looking back over it all, the two utterances of his that 
now mean the most to me are his early "You are more kin 
to me than any one I have ever known, " and this next, 
apropos of I know not what, in the last conversation we 
were ever to hold suddenly, as if from a full heart: 
"Thank God, you are not afraid of anything! " 

Once more, on September 6, we took up the round at 
home replete with all that love, keen interest in life, work, 
and friends could bring. Jack began the day with a few 
moments in the garden: 

"Gorgeous, tropic flowers!" he would murmur delight 
edly over the flaunting goldfish, their long tails waving like 
lazy veils in the sunny water of the pool, its fountain bowl 
an old Indian stone mortar. "And how I love the all-night 
drip and plash of your tiny fountain ! 

He cared less for flowers in general than most men do, 
or are willing to own. His was joy in a single bloom. If 
he was caught momentarily by a mass of blossoms, it would 
be for a definite idea connected with it perhaps that it was 
in my arms, and gave me pleasure ; or that it enhanced me 
in some way. I can see him at his desk near a doorway, 
writing, interrupted by the flame of my basketful of poppies 
or rosies crossing his vision, coloring the sunlight. And 
the glance would rest, and dwell, and soften his deep-gray, 
wide eyes full of the love that was my wonder and glory 
and guerdon. 

Everything was in full swing on the Ranch, and guests 
voices were in the air. 



218 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"This is what I like," Jack would pause in a dictation 
to me at the typewriter. While we are together, carrying 
on our work, they can do whatever they want. Look I 
love the rail out there under the oak, with our horses tied, 
saddled and waiting. And there go two lovers on horse 
back for the trails ; and a married pair for a hike. Others 
are playing cards in the living room, where I shall join 
them as soon as this letter is finished. . . And if you don t 
mind, Mate," his eyes begging the favor, "you take the 
crowd that s coming for dinner, over the Wolf House trail, 
because I have just got to get even with George for the wal 
loping he gave me at pedro last night! Listen to those 
girls chattering up in the fig-tree and who s practising on 
the piano? Mate, do you really know how I love it all!" 
To this day, as a friend said, the house "still breathes of 
the sweetness of you two toward each other." 

Some notes for future work, made about this time, il 
lustrate how simple was his initial preparation: 

"Series of Stories. 

"Why not write a superb short story from each of a number 
of diverse places, and collect in book-form under some suitable title 
that conveys the idea from all the world. ? The Purple Sea might 
make a good title. 

"Novel. 

"Why not a series of past and future novels? For No. 1, I 
could use Before Adam; No. 2, Christ Novel; No. 3, The Mid 
dle Ages; No. 4, some great proletarian-bourgeoise conflict story 
of the present; No. 5, 1 could use The Iron Heel; No. 6, The Far 
Future, the perfected and perishing human race." 

"Farthest Distant. 

"Radium engines, etc., for energy, See Atoms and Evolution, 
in Saleeby s The Cycle of Life. 

"Collision of dark body from out of space (not large), one- 
tenth size of sun. And earth learns of coming by perturbations of 
outer planet. Then rush the earth away from the sun. 



FOUR-HORSE DRIVING-TRIP 219 

"When earth travels through space, all must be inclosed; and 
they must use stored heat of some sort. The oceans freeze, etc. A 
great preparation. See Direction of Motion chapter by Herbert 
Spencer. The initial momentum they have. The momentum in a 
straight line that is altered to a curve around the sun by the pole 
of the sun. Nullify the pole of the sun, select the right moment, 
and sail off into space to reach nearest neighbor sun. They make 
some mistakes the first time. Something goes wrong with the ma 
chinery, and they dash around the second sun like a comet and 
return to the old sun. They figure it out on the way, do not check 
at old sun, and like a comet return to new sun, where they suc 
ceed in checking." 

The material for the Christ novel above referred to 
Jack had been compiling for years; but in the Christ epi 
sode of "The Star Rover " he concentrated his long-sought 
data. When he read me, aboard the Roomer, that chapter 
of " The Star Rover, " I asked him what of the Christ novel. 
"This will suffice, " he said. "I shall not do the longer 
work. 

Jesus Christ and Abraham Lincoln were names of praise 
upon his lips. Tolstoy said of Lincoln that be was a Christ 
in miniature. Jack London: "The two men I reverence 
most are Christ and Lincoln," and spoke of them with shin 
ing, worshipful eyes. And Stephen French sends me the 
following from a letter Jack wrote him: "I don t know 
whether Jesus Christ was a myth or not; but taking him 
just as I find him, just as I read him, I have two heroes 
one is Jesus Christ, the other Abraham Lincoln." 

Our main meal was at 12 :30. This hour better suited 
our work and Ranch plans generally. At twelve the mail- 
sack a substantial leather one bought before we sailed on 
the Snark arrived at the back porcb, and Nakata brought 
it to me to sort tbe contents. In the half-hour before din 
ner, Jack had glanced over the daily paper, read his letters, 
indicated replies on some of them for my guidance, and 



220 THE BOOK OP JACK LONDON 

laid the more important ones in their wire tray, one of 
many such nested on a small table beside the Oregon myrtle 
rolltop desk where he transacted business. I always en 
deavored to have his ten pages of hand-written manuscript 
transcribed an average of two and a half typewritten let 
ter-size sheets before the second gong (an ancient concave 
disk of Korean brass) belled the fifteen-minute call to table. 
Jack implored me to be on time to the minute s tick, and 
attend to seating the guests, so that he might work to the 
last moment. 

In many minds, I am sure, still lives the vision of the 
hale, big-hearted man of God s out-of-doors, the beardless 
patriarch, his curls rumpled, like as not the green visor 
unremoved, pattering with that quick, light step along the 
narrow vine-shaded porch, through the screened doorway 
and the length of the tapa-brown room to his seat in the 
solid red koa chair at the head of the table. "Here comes a 
real man ! was the prevailing sentiment. 

How he doted upon that board with its long double-row 
of friendly faces turned in greeting, ever ready with an 
other plate and portion! It was his ideal carried from 
old days with the Strunskys*. "In Jack s house," one 
writes me, "I met the most interesting people of my life 
and of the world." And perhaps, while we fell to our por 
tions, before his own was tasted he would read aloud news 
paper items or newly received letters ; or he might launch 
out in a fine rage of his eternal enthusiasm, upon some 
theme that claimed him, or strike into argument, whipped 
hot out of his seething brain and heart. Always there was 
in him the potent urge to gather all about him into knowl 
edge of whatever claimed his attention. Years only added 
to his capacity to function in every potentiality. There 
were no numb or inactive surfaces in his make-up, men 
tally, physically. He reached in all directions, to play, to 
work, to thought, to sensation. His face, smiling, cracked 
with thought-wrinkles, weather-wrinkles, laughter-wrinkles. 



FOUE-HOESE DEIVING-TEIP 221 

At no time did he have more than a few gray hairs ; and his 
hands, to his pride, were very firm, showing no dilated ar 
teries. "One is as young as one s arteries, " he was fond 
of saying. How he would pluck at the air with those young 
hands, in unconscious pantomime groping for illustration 
for the means that no man born of woman has ever been 
able to command by which to express a complete concept. 

Many were more impressed by his eyes than any other 
feature or characteristic. "All steel and dew," one man 
wrote of them. "All sweetness and hidden ferocity . . . 
as though they masked profound and terrible secrets . . . 
eyes common enough, mayhap, when the world was young. 
. . . Alert, as though to him life were a constant battle 
field." 

They were eyes that look into one, and through and be 
yond as if what they saw on the surface, in one s own, led 
his into the deeps behind, into the brain, conscious and un 
conscious and far behind again into the intelligence of the 
race down through all the drift of the human. Gray, 
or iris-blue, they were when mild, the large pupils giving 
them a splendid, brilliant darkness; but let him be angry, 
instantly they went cold, metallic, the enormous pupils nar 
rowing to bitter points. 

He had a way, sometimes, in common with his sister, of 
apparently not listening while his eyes looked through one, 
patently seeing beyond. "You haven t heard a word!" 
I would remonstrate. "Oh, yes, I have," he would return, 
and repeat a sentence or two. "That doesn t prove any 
thing," I would challenge. "No, my dear, I will give you 
your whole argument, " and he would disprove my assertion. 

Another likeness of Jack s to Eliza was expressed by a 
woman who had heard her speak in public: "When others 
get up and talk, we listen to what they say; when you get 
up and talk, we do what you say!" 

How his "living language" of colloquialisms and slang 
pierces time when we call up the arguments that flew about 



222 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

the table like missiles in a game! "Come on, now let s 
tell sad stories of the deaths of kings ! Go to it ; the day 
is young, and we re a long time dead!" "Oh, it s only my 
shorthand, he would mourn, cutting short to a conclusion, 
speaking to blank faces, perhaps. Or, when he had perhaps 
let himself go on some subject near his heart: "You miss 
me you miss me totally," in distressed tone to a solemn 
egotist who had dared his logic ; or, " There you go trying 
to pass the buck; now stick to the point." Or, "Ah ah 
but you ve missed the factors. Connotations, man, factors !" 
Then, "Still well, but not so well." Parsimonious was a 
word he enjoyed for a time : " I m parsimonious ! " he would 
cry in a discussion, "You ll have to show me I don t be 
lieve anything till I m shown. I m parsimonious!" "But 
to get back : As I was saying when I was so rudely inter 
rupted," with a twinkle; "I m afraid I was always an ex 
tremist; so don t mind my violence." And suddenly, in the 
face of non-understanding: "I m boring you?" "Piffle!" 
he would exclaim, full-tilt ; and irascibly, Silly ! You mean 
to say, then . . . ?" Showing up the muddlement of a 
wrathful and impotent opponent. " No ? Then what do you 
mean to say? We must agree upon a working vocabulary 
for a basis." "What do I think about so and so? Well, 
if anybody should .drive up in a hack and ask me, I d 
say ..." When something was well said or done, he 
might praise, "Fine and dandy!" or "Booful, my dear!" 
But always he hewed to the core of the truth of things, and 
his meanings were clear to any who would clearly listen. 
Some poet has expressed my own sentiment : 

"... well I love to see 

That gracious smile light up your face, and hear 
Your wonderful words, that all mean verily 
The thing they seem to mean." 

Once Jack wrote me : * Kemember, dear, not only in being 
true to myself am I true to you, but before I knew you I was 



FOUR-HOESE DEIVING-TEIP 223 

true to myself. I have always been true to myself. This 
is my highest concept of right conduct. It is my measure 
of right conduct. " 

One prejudiced person, who rather against his will had 
been brought by a mutual acquaintance, had this to say: 

"That friend of yours, Jack London, is all and more 
than you said. He made me love him even when I quar 
reled with him. Why, he is a marvel I never saw his 
like." 

Another remembered Jack, the comrade-man, arm 
around the shoulder of a friend: 

"At times he was funnily boyish, then in a flash splen 
didly exalted, pouring forth in his glad way his knowledge 
of life, his love of life, his sympathy with life, his creative 
force, his open-minded embrace of the most vital in life; 
he, life itself, impregnated by ripeness of thought and feel 
ing most unusual for his years. And still again : l What 
a warmth there was about this dear fellow! Sunshine fol 
lowed him everywhere. . . . Even in his harshest moments, 
his fine, open smile would burst forth. Never have I seen 
such faith, resultant of research and understanding, cou 
pled with such doubt of the purely dreamy optimistic or 
the unproven." 

To the youngsters of his race, entranced with his genu 
ineness and utter lack of swank, "He was a prince !" And 
one associate honored him with this: "Jack London was 
a great man ; but his friends loved him just the same. y 

So much for his own countrymen ; and how I wish the 
English, in greater numbers, could have known him per 
sonally. One, who had and appreciated that privilege, 
said: "I had to come to his own land to hear a word in 
his disfavor though I will say it came not from any who 
knew him at first hand. 

One illuminating little flare of Jack s burns up in mem 
ory. Some one at table used the contraction " Frisco, " 



224 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

and a very young miss rushed headlong into trouble with 
her host: "Oh, don t say Frisco! Say San Francisco!" 

Jack landed full wroth into the breach : 

"Let Frisco alone, you! We love the western tang of 
it, we oldsters who knew her by that name before you were 
dry behind the ears! Frisco, Frisco . . ." he rolled it 
sweetly on his tongue. And mingled in the fiber of his 
tone were scorn and pity for the greenness of her who 
jeered at what seemed to her the common crudity of a 
sobriquet the very glorious roughness of which symbol 
ized what the old town had stood for of romance in the 
days Jack London had known, so dear to all who knew it 
then. He would seldom go far out of his way to pronounce 
correctly a foreign word: "You know what I mean, don t 
you? that s the main thing !" 

Despite that Jack London was an excellent subject, and 
was widely photographed, many have written to know of 
his appearance and proportions. Among some forgotten 
souvenirs I have come upon a typewritten record, made up 
at Jack s suggestion, of our comparative measurements. 
His are appended: 

JACK 

Height 5 ft. 9 in. 

Above knee 15i^> in. 

Below knee 12^ in. 

Calf 14 in. 

Ankle 8% in. 

Wrist 61/2 in. 

Forearm 11 in. 

Biceps (relaxed) 12 in. 

Biceps (tensed) 13 in. 

Neck : .14% in. 

Chest 40 in. 

Waist 36 in. 

Size of Hat 7% in. 

Size of Shoe . . . Number 7 




B 

I* 



E* . 



II 




N 

K < 
O P 
CUB 



FOUR-HORSE DRIVING-TRIP 225 

Near the end of the midday meal, Nakata would lay be 
side my plate a note-pad and pencil, upon which it was my 
daily task to figure the horses, saddles, bridles, and riding 
costumes of transient guests from two to a dozen and, in 
season, as many swimming-suits beside. Or, the four-in- 
hand would be wanted, and in his wide stiff-rim Stetson, 
white soft shirt and khaki trousers, Jack, noisy, gay, swing 
ing the jingling, fleeing leaders hither and thither in his 
blossoming valley, would be seen pointing out the beauties 
of it to a packed wagonful of rapt, if sometimes apprehen 
sive, men and women and children, enlarging to them upon 
the character and idiosyncracies of each horse. A neigh 
boring editor saw him "Big, boyish, warm-hearted . . . 
Over our hills with the sunshine of his favorite vale shining 
upon his head he often rode or drove in carefree style the 
beautiful horses he loved. His manner cordial, his greeting 
cheery, it was little wonder he became the pal of all, and no 
matter how big his triumphs he was never the conceited 
genius but always the genial friend and natural neighbor. 

As Jack himself put it: "I m so afraid of slighting 
somebody I ought to recognize in the neighborhood, that 
I m going to speak in good old country fashion to every 
body I meet ! which became his habit ; and many the prim 
provincial lady, loitering in her dusty old buggy under the 
hot midsummer sky, who sat up suddenly from daydreams 
to stare, first, at the abounding good cheer of the robust 
young driver avalanching by, and tipping a gray cow 
boy brim so respectfully; and, next, to melt into smiles 
under the warmth of the neighborly apparition. 

That year the Sierra Club made its first pilgrimage to 
the Jack London Ranch. Also it marked the employment, 
of Jack s first paroled man from the State Penitentiary at 
San Quentin. Jack s principles in general, and in particu 
lar his own Buffalo experience, had for years made him 
eager to give a chance to those unfortunate enough to have 



226 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

come inside the forbidding gray battlements so often seen 
from the deck of the Roamer. For years, on our place, 
these men came and went. As for his opinion of amelior 
ating prison conditions, he wrote : 

"I have little faith in prison reform. Prisons are 
merely a symptom. When you try to reform them, you 
try to reform symptoms. The disease remains. " 

One sojourner with us, as houseguest, was Ed. Morrell, 
whose astounding experience, growing out of his connec 
tion with the notorious outlaws, Sontag and Evans, was 
the motif for Jack s subsequent novel, "The Star Rover. " 
I well recall Jack, fairly frothing over the straitjacket 
scars Morrell had been revealing, lurching in, spilling over 
with emotion, to tell me what he had seen. 

While the foregoing busy season went forward, the Bay 
newspapers had Jack attending the birthday party, In Mon 
terey County, of some one s lapdog "Fluffy Ruffles V 9 

Sometimes guiding our friends on the steep trails, or 
riding hand in hand to look over progress at the Wolf 
House, we talked of the big schooner that some day we 
should rig out and start for another round-the-world voy 
age. There was never any hint of dullness in the present 
nor fear of future boredom. 

Four books were issued in 1911 : "When God Laughs, " 
"Adventure," "The Cruise of the Snark," and "South Sea 
Tales." Of the inscriptions I choose two this, in the 
spring, from "When God Laughs": 

"My Own Dear Woman: 

"The years come, and the years go, our friends come and go, 
some few of them stick and you and I stick better than any or 
all" 

From "South Sea Tales," in the fall: 

"Dearest Mate- Woman: 

"And can we say, after all these years, that we have ever been 
happier than we are happy right now!" 



FOUR-HORSE DRIVING-TRIP 227 

There was much to do every waking moment. The 
thing was, to find time to sleep; yet we regarded that as 
rather a leisurely year perhaps because we did not go 
very far from home. My diary records: "Mate works in 
the evenings. He is so very busy. It makes my own head 
tired when I think of all his head must keep track of." 

It was in the late afternoon of October 10, 1911, that 
Jack returned on horseback from Glen Ellen, two miles 
from the house, and announced with solemnity that he had 
just cast his vote for "Woman Suffrage. "Woman Suf 
frage," he expounded, "means Prohibition; and that is 
why I voted for it. The normal woman," he went on, "has 
no liking for alcohol ; through all the ages John Barleycorn 
has hurt her heart. All that will be changed when she wins 
political power." 

This scene stands forever in the Foreword of "John 
Barleycorn," the book in which Jack London focused his 
sensations and viewpoints in regard to alcohol. 

Some time after its publication, he received the letter 
below : 

" Oakland, California, May 27th, 1916. 
"Mr. Jack London, 

"Glen Ellen, Calif. 
"Dear Friend: 

"I take this opportunity in forwarding these few lines remind 
ing you of the coincidences which happened in Our Half Day along 
the Oakland estuary. 

"I understand that my name Spider Healy, along with Soup 
Kennedy, Boche Pierrati, Joe Goose and M. J. Hynold has been 
heralded all over these United States and the rest of the world and 
that you have realized an abundance of wealth both in moving 
pictures and a book known as John Barleycorn. If you were to 
visit the old haunts of the oyster pirates of the present time you 
would find in a very decrepid condition. Financially and otherwise 
Soup Kennedy who you described in your book as a worthy op 
ponent of Scratch Nelson has been following the sea as a means of 
livelyhood. But as time and tide wait for no man he has over- 



228 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

looked an opportunity of acquiring a vast wad. Many times we 
have sat upon the deck listening to the strains of the chanties, hoping 
that a time would arrive when we would again get together either 
to talk of the old times or to make arrangements to go salmon fish 
ing to Alaska or sealing to the Bonin Islands. 

"I was surprised on more than one occasion to have individuals 
acost me on the street asking if my name was the Spider Healy of 
John Barleycorn fame. On answering in the affirmative I was re 
minded that my part of your John Barleycorn was one of most 
importance. 

There is not a day passes that tourists from the far east and 
all parts of the United States do not stand and gaze with astonish 
ment at the old relics of the old St. Louis House and the first and 
last chance saloon where you have gained renown and fortune. 
A few nights ago at the foot of Franklin Street at which place 
you weighed anchor many a time I sat and listened to the strains 
of some of the Chanties of which you are quite familiar. Again it 
brought to mind the old day when you and I heard the same 
songs. (Lorenze was no sailor) (Blow the man down) (Whisky for 
my Johnies) (we ll pay Pattie Doyle for his boots) and (Bound 
for the Bio Grande and sailin Home to merry England town.) 

In conclusion the main object of calling your attention to 
these facts is to let you know the conditions that now exist with 
the pirates whose names have made you fames, in that book & 
plan known as John Barleycorn. Johnie Hynold and Joe Yiergue 
are the only ones who accumulated a wad and I dare say buried 
it like a dog did his bone. To get a quarter from a turnip, is 
like extracting the same from these men. 

"Johnie Hynold is estimated according to Bradstreet s to be 
worth about one hundred and sixty thousand dollars and Joe 
Viergue as you know as accumulating his fortune on our hard earned 
coin. 

I belief that Soup Kennedy has seen his last days as a seaman. 
Strength gone, health gone and eyesight failing what was once a 
big rough rovish stalwart fellow has dwindled to a mere nothing. 

I was talking to him a few days ago and in asking him what 
the matter was, he told me that a saw bones told him that his life 
was going to nicker out in a short time. He stated that it was not 
necessary for the old boy to put him on. On more than one occasion 



FOUR-HORSE DRIVING-TRIP 229 

I felt my heart slip a cog or two. Now you know Jack when your 
heart slips a cog or two there is no possible way to replace it by good 
smooth running gear. Soup is very much enthused when I told him 
that I was about to ask you for a small bit of assistance. I do not 
know what you are estimated to be by Bradstreet or Wall Street 
but I certainly would be ever grateful if you generously would be 
aroused to such an extent that it would be possible for you to loosen 
up and forward at once a check with a substantial amount to pull 
Soup and myself out of a hole. 

"Now if you want to be a good fellow and have your name 
heralded as such along the water front where your childhood days 
were spent with the rest of the pirates you will please grant this 
request at once. 

"Your old pals, 

"Soup Kennedy, 

"p. S. We are living at present 416-2nd St. Oakland, Cal., and 
will await your earliest convenience, a reply, also that substantial 
check, Joe Goose is on his last legs. 

" Spider. " 

As Jack did not invariably let his left hand know what 
his right hand did, I do not know what his reply, if any, 
was to the foregoing. 

Jack s aversion to spending Christmas in the prescribed 
way caused many an outing to begin on the twenty-fourth 
of December. And so, that date in 1911 saw Mr. Kisich 
opening a bottle of champagne in his " Saddle Rock," to 
speed us on the way east. We slept aboard the Western 
Pacific Limited that night, headed for New York City. En 
route on the Denver and Rio Grande we stopped over at 
Salt Lake City to foregather with my friends the Harry 
Culmers ; and among other trips, Jack and I went on a little 
pilgrimage to Fort Douglas, where in the 60 s my father, 
Captain Willard Kittredge, had served under General Con 
nor, his duties including those of Provost Marshal of the 
beautiful, romantic city. 



230 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

The New Year was celebrated in New York. And this 
time," Jack assured me, " we ll go home by way of Cape 
Horn." 

Almost any passage in our companionship 1 contem 
plate with more pleasure than that 1912 winter in 
1 Gotham. The trip had been one of our happiest ; but, once 
off the train, and his enthusiasm expressed over the new 
Pennsylvania Station, it was the old story. The city reached 
into him and plucked to light the least admirable of his 
qualities. Out of the wholesome blisses of his western life, 
he plunged into a condition that negated his accustomed 
personality. Nine-tenths of the two months time we made 
our headquarters in Morningside Park East, he was not 
his usual self. During the other tenth, cropping up in un 
expected moments, the manifestation of his dearest self 
and his love were never warmer nor more illuminating. 

Coincident with our arrival, he warned that he was going 
to invite one last, thoroughgoing bout with alcohol, and that 
when he should sail on the Cape Horn voyage, it was to be 
"Good-by, forever, to John Barleycorn." To me, the 
promised end was worth the threatened means; and my 
comprehension and acceptance of his intention were ap 
preciated. But I could not fail to regret that new friends 
should know and base their judgment of Jack London upon 
this unfortunate phenomenon of him. 

In that Jack London, drunken, was not as other drunken 
men, the majority of those who contacted with him during 
a period of what he termed his " white logic" deemed they 
knew the true, sober Jack London in all his panoply of 
normal brilliance. Never, in all my years with him, did I 
see him tipsy. An old acquaintance of Jack s, asked con 
cerning this phase of the author of "John Barleycorn," 
laughed: "I have known him more or less intimately for 
ten years, and I have never seen him intoxicated." And 
Jack himself: "I was never interested enough in cocktails 



FOUE-HOESE DEIVING-TEIP 231 

to know how they were made." Except in rare cases when 
a single drink acutely poisoned his stomach, upon him the 
effect of alcoholic stimulus was to render preternaturally 
active an already superactive mind. Keen, hair-splitting 
in controversy, reckless of mind and body, sweeping all 
before him, passionately intolerant of man or woman who 
challenged his way all this and more was he in his " white 
logic" extreme. This unnatural state, combined with the 
depression New York invariably put upon him, was dan 
gerous. And there was wanting and how were others to 
know? the splendid, healthy charm of the big man he was, 
the finer potency of his moral integrities, the square truth 
of his fundamental faiths and their observance. Much, at 
the time, I sensed, watching the calendar day by day as the 
day of release from New York approached; more, beyond 
guesswork, afterward came to light. But I knew my man, 
and, content or not, waited, remembering that I had never 
yet waited in vain to welcome back the sane and lovable 
boy. More and more deeply am I convinced that it is 
not the irks of the wayside that should count in one s valu 
ing of events or individuals. I knew my man. I could only 
wish that some others had had such vision for crises like 
these in Jack London s contact with his kind. 

"New York is one wild maelstrom," he saw it that year. 
"Eome in its wildest days could not compare with this 
city. Here, making an impression is more important than 
making good. And I take an item from the N. Y. Evening 
World, which throws light upon another observation of 
Jack s: 

"In this great city woman does not care for woman friends. 
She will boldly tell you so. She does not trust them. . . . The aver 
age so-called wise woman of New York City will not introduce her 
attractive men friends to her women friends. 

There comes to me, across the years, something for 
many years forgotten. He had said to me, very early in 
our marriage : 



232 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

i Don t forget what I have been and been through. 
There may, mark, I only say may come times when the 
temptation to drift for an hour, or a day, will stick up 
its head; and I may follow. I have drifted all my life 
curiosity, that burning desire to know. Yet, I have knocked 

the edge off my curiosity about a lot of things. Still " 

in his honesty he anticipated the possibility. 

Once, after the baby had been lost to him, I asked 
innocently, " Where been?" To which, with a teasing look, 
he replied, "Oh, pirootmg, my dear I ll tell you, maybe, 
when we re in our seventies!" But long afterward, when 
some association of ideas called for it, there would leak 
out, among other hinted adventurings, the story of a hard- 
fought game of cards in a water-front public house in San 
Francisco, or a weird experience of one sort or another with 
some nameless waif he had elected to trot around with for 
an afternoon or evening. 

Eeferring to John Barleycorn and his mental condition 
in New York, I once asked him if it would not have been 
better for me to withdraw from him at such times even 
to letting him go alone: "No," he reassured. "You did 
exactly as you should have done. If you had left me, I 
don t know what I should have done." 

Another chance affair he divulged when in reminiscent 
mood. One afternoon, in the Forum Cigar store in Oak 
land, he ran across a man who knew an old Klondike ac 
quaintance, whose address he gave. Some mistake was 
made, and Jack found himself in a curious little pocket. 
A door, answering his ring, let him into a hall at the foot 
of a narrow stairway. From the upper end a handsome, 
flashy woman called down: 

"Hello, you Jack London!" 

"How do you know I am Jack London?" he countered 
in his surprise at her expectant tone, and mounted several 
steps to have a look at her. 

The woman peered down at him, then drew back, fear 



FOUR-HORSE DRIVING-TRIP 233 

and puzzlement in every line and movement. To cut the 
tale short, it appeared that the lady had been keeping com 
pany for some time with a man who called himself Jack 
London, whom she had quite believed was the simon-pure 
article enjoying a double life. She assured Jack that he 
bore a strong resemblance to her friend. 

Once, that winter of 1912 in New York, he had said with 
smoldering eyes: "If you ve got the nerve, I ll take you 
drifting! It would be great fun. One lark would be to 
board a subway, any subway, and run to the very end of 
the line ; get off, start in any direction, and ring the bell of 
the first house that took our fancy. Say Good evening, 7 
cordially, to whoever came to the door, and get inside, talk 
ing a blue streak, acting as if we were old friends. Of 
course, they d think we were crazy, and the more familiar 
we got, the more excited they. The police would be sum 
moned " he broke off in a giggle that was the only fa 
miliar thing in his manner, " but what s the use?" he 
finished gloomily. "You wouldn t be game for a mess like 
that! but think of the fun!" and he regarded me quizzi 
cally, as if calculating the experiment he was making upon 
the stuff of my character. I flatly declined to be lured by 
this or kindred prospects. He knew I would go with him 
anywhere and back again, but not when he was in this ex 
treme, unnormal state. So ho resumed his "pirooting" 
I really do not know how to spell the word, and the diction 
ary is no help. 

A wonder it is that nothing happened to him. Settling 
in a barber s chair one day, he noticed the man was shak 
ing as with violent ague : 

What s the idea 1 " he inquired kindly. Made a night 
of it?" 

"Several," the barber chattered under his breath, glanc 
ing warily around. "Don t know how I m g-g-going to 
shave you or anybody." 



234 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

And Jack, with the razor making oblique stabs against 
his windpipe, sensing the wielder was in danger of losing 
his job, told him to "go through the motions, anyway," 
and he would make no fuss. 

"But, man," I expostulated, "you might have had your 
throat cut!" 

"Oh, well," he said, "he was in an awful state, and I 
couldn t get up and go out and give him away to the whole 
shop. I didn t enjoy it a bit, I assure you!" 

I have speculated if he ever thought to liken his act to 
that of Eobert Louis Stevenson, who is reputed to have ac 
cepted and smoked a half-consumed cigarette from a leper, 
rather than cause affront. Jack had often brought up 
that story to illustrate his conception of gameness. 

He would not take care of himself. Coughing badly, 
week in and week out, he declined to wear other than thin 
"low-cuts" with sheerest of silk socks. "Don t bother 
I ll be all right," was all that I, or the small fatherly 
Nakata, could elicit. 

The New York World, during the Equitable Life fire, 
sent him a badge that gave him the freedom of that pre 
cinct of ice and flame; but I, who should have liked to 
share this real adventure, was barred by my sex. 

Dozens of plays we attended together; a dozen or so 
books Jack read aloud to me; and there was a trip to 
Schenectady, where Frank Hancock, whom we had met in 
New Orleans, introduced us to Professor Charles P. Stein- 
metz, genius of the General Electric, and took us through 
the leviathan plant ; for Jack was always sharp-set to study 
the enormous achievements of the human in harnessing 
force. At Schenectady we were guests of Dr. and Mrs. 
Cyrus E. Baker. In their home Jack treated his soul to 
an orgy of music, for Mrs. Baker had been on the grand 
opera stage, and her husband was a masterly accompanist. 
Another out-of-town week-end was spent at Short Beach, 



FOUR-HORSE DRIVING-TRIP 235 

Connecticut, with Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wilcox Ella 
Wheeler of our Jamaica memories. 

Attending a tea at the Liberal Club on January 27, 1912, 
given in his honor, Jack was asked by a socialist if he was 
a "Direct Actionist." Jack regarded his questioner cau 
tiously for a moment, then asked him to define what he 
meant by the term. One who favors strikes and the like, 
was the definition: 

"Yes, I am a direct actionist, as you call it. Direct 
Action, as I understand it, is teaching us the true fighting 
spirit, which is going to be the greatest asset the people of 
the masses possess when the great struggle finally comes 
between them and their present masters. There is a hard 
time coming. We shall have a big fight, but the masses will 
conquer in the end, because they form the stronger and 
more stable body. The story of the struggle will be written 
in blood. The ruling classes will not let go until it is." 

Some one asked him to give his ideas on the subject of 
universal peace. He replied that there would come a time 
when all human contention would be settled amicably with 
the aid of referees, but that we must use our fighting spirit 
to bring about this condition. We must fight to stop war. 

"What will you do with the fighting spirit when this 
ideal state comes to pass?" some one asked. 

"Dig potatoes with it!" Jack shouted vehemently. 
"Write books with it, govern with it. By turning this en 
ergy, now wasted in building up great armaments with 
which to kill, into civilized channels, civilization would 
mean twice what it does now." 

Of writing on his novel, "The Valley of the Moon," 
he did almost none; but he transacted considerable busi 
ness with publishers. He had left the Macmillans, and con 
tracted with Doubleday, Page & Company for "A Son of 
the Sun." The Century Company brought out the next 
four volumes "Smoke Bellew Tales," "The Night Born," 
"The Abysmal Brute," and "John Barleycorn." In the 



236 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

fall of 1913, with "The Valley of the Moon," Jack resumed 
relations with the Macmillans, and continued thenceforth 
with that house. 

One writer whose company greatly illumined our so 
journ in New York was Michael Monahan; and Jack and 
Richard Le Gallienne got together most pleasantly. Sev 
eral afternoons were set aside for receiving callers. Alex 
ander Berkman came to see Jack, for the purpose of en 
listing his aid in the matter of a Preface to his "Prison 
Memoirs of an Anarchist." The two " scrapped" amiably, 
and Jack wrote the Preface, but, in the nature of their radi 
cal differences, it was repudiated by Berkman and his as 
sociate anarchists. I shall include the Preface in some 
future collection, together with Jack s comments upon 
Berkman s refusal, written several years thereafter. 
"Alexander Berkman," I quote from the latter document, 
"could not see his way to using my introduction, and got 
some one else to write a more sympathetic one for him. 
Also, socially, comradely, he has forgotten my existence 
ever since." 

Late that year, asked by an Oakland Tribime man if, 
with his interest in the economic aspect of the world, he 
did not find New York the best place for his observations, 
Jack cried: 

"Great Scott, no, no! I must have the open, the big 
open. No big city for me, and above all not New York. I 
think it is the cocksure feeling of superiority which the peo 
ple of the metropolis feel over the rest of the country that 
makes me rage when it does not remind me of something 
near home. Next to my Eanch is an institution for the 
feebleminded. When some of the inmates who are not as 
feeble minded as the rest, are through with their chores, 
one or another of them will shake his or her head and say 
with great thankfulness: "Well, heaven he praised, I m 
not feebleminded." 

"And yet," he concluded benevolently, "I feel that 



FOUR-HORSE DRIVING-TRIP 237 

way about New Yorkers only when I see or think of them 
collectively. When I meet them one by one it is another 
story. 

This reminds one of what R. L. S. said, as remembered 
by Robert S. Lysaght, to a similar question ; 

"It is all the better for a man s work, if he wants it 
to be good and not merely popular. Human nature is al 
ways the same, and you see and understand it better when 
you are standing outside the crowd/ 



CHAPTER XXXV 

CAPE HOBN VOYAGE 
1912 

FOUR of us sailed around Cape Horn, from Baltimore 
to Seattle Jack London, wife, Nakata, and an engag 
ing fox terrier puppy, three months foolish, who was des 
tined to play an important part in Jack s household till 
the end of life. " Possum " we named him, in memory of 
a rough-coated little Irish gentleman we had known in the 
South Seas brother to dear Peggy of the Snar~k, immortal 
in our hearts. The fox Possum figures in l The Valley of the 
Moon," which was resumed and completed on the Cape 
Horn voyage, and also in "The Mutiny of the Elsinore," 
this book being an out-growth of that experience on a wind 
jammer. Besides "The Valley of the Moon," Jack made 
copious notes for "John Barleycorn," and wrote a short 
sea story, "The Tar Pot," published serially as "The Cap 
tain of the Susan Drew," and not yet collected in book 
form. 

It was a very subdued, much-himself Jack London who 
stopped over with me in Philadelphia en route to Baltimore 
to take ship. And Philadelphia unconsciously perpetrated 
a classic joke on itself: without knowing, it entertained for 
three days at the leading hotel "America s most advertised 
writer." It seemed so strange that I had no accustomed 
duties to perform in the way of answering telephone calls 
from reporters in the lobby! For not one ever discovered 
the sprawling signature in the hotel register. The silence 
of the brotherhood of scribes was certainly not due to any 

238 



CAPE HORN VOYAGE 239 

boycott on Jack London, for they had hitherto appeared 
unanimously kind to his work. 

The morning of our sailing from Baltimore, on March 2, 
1912, as I sat alone writing my farewell letters home, the 
door opened and I heard Jack in colloquy with Nakata. I 
caught the words, in a giggly whisper, "Wait till Mrs. 
London sees me!" Something told me what I should be 
hold, and I refrained from raising my eyes until obliged 
to do so. He had long threatened to do it, but until then 
had withheld the act because of my pleading. His head was 
as naked as a billiard ball. I looked him over with assumed 
poise, and resumed my writing. Jack tittered. I said 
* * Yes, I see ; but it isn t funny. Jack tittered again. < But 
it isn t funny," I repeated, beginning to lose hold of my 
self. "Oh, now, don t feel badly, Mate Woman," he began, 
for my voice was becoming unsteady, I know. "It is such 
a good rest for my head I often did it in the old days, at 
sea and around." 

It was the last straw in a hard winter, to mix a meta 
phor. I wept uncontrolledly for nearly three hours. There 
is a photograph of the pair of us, taken that day be 
side Edgar Allen Poe s monument, in which a very heavily 
coated Jack London, hat pulled down most unbecomingly 
over a chill scalp, stands with a woman who tries to hide 
swollen eyes and forlorn mouth in a new set of very 
handsome red fox. Jack looked apprehensive when I re 
marked that my own head needed a rest, and started for 
the scissors. But I only sheared off eight inches. I did 
not again look directly at Jack until there was at least 
half an inch of hair on his head. 

The Dingo, 3000 tons net registered, seventeen years 
old, had been the first steel ship launched by the famous 
Sewalls of Bath, Maine. She was technically a four-masted 
barque. Jack chose the Dingo over a much newer clipper for 
the reason that she carried skysails fast becoming obso- 



240 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

lete. "And how I d like to take you around the Horn on a 
ship with moonsails!" he lamented the impossibility. 

Captain Omar Chapman, of Newcastle, Maine, was one 
of the fast disappearing type of lean New England aristo 
crat, who always presented himself on deck immaculately 
attired, his especial hobbies fine hats and cravats. His 
quiet Yankee humor extended to these little foibles and a 
frank contempt for the common clay of modern deep-water 
sailors. The calm kingliness of his character was in cod 
contrast to that of the Mate, Fred Mortimer, hot-hearted, 
determined, all-around efficient driver of a crew that was 
composed, with a few exceptions well along in years, of 
landlubbers and weaklings. 

Imagine our surprise to learn that Captain Warren, of 
the Snark, had applied for the berth of second officer, al 
though in ignorance of our presence in the ship. As sur 
prising was the fact that the man who was accepted bore 
the same name! 

We paid $1000.00 for our passage, and, since such ves 
sels carry no passenger license, had to sign on the articles, 
Jack as third mate, myself as stewardess, and Nakata as 
cabin-boy. It must have been attributable to Yankee thrift 
that, when it became known we traveled with a man, no 
cabin boy was taken along. Therefore many duties aft fell 
to our private servant, over and above his service to Jack 
and me, and Nakata put up with the gratuitous injustice 
with good grace rather than create unpleasantness. 

The Dirigo stood out to sea in an abating icy gale that 
had held her bound for exasperating weeks. Eough and 
bitter cold it was, but nothing mattered to me except the 
fact that land was left behind, in prospect long months of 
blissful sea life with its cleansing simplicities. 

In all the one hundred and forty-eight days, our eyes 
rested on land but once or in one brief period of two or 
three days literally land s-end, the end of the earth, the 
island of Cape Horn itself, with the continuous mainland 



CAPE HORN VOYAGE 241 

and islands. Even Diego Ramirez, sinister finger of stone 
to the south of the Continent, became visible in the war of 
water and cloud. 

"Cape Horn on the starboard bow!" on May 10, was 
the most exciting tocsin, next to a savage war conch, I had 
ever awakened to. 

"Gee you folks are lucky !" Mr. Mortimer exclaimed, 
as, wrapped in heavy coats, we clung to the poop-rail and 
actually gazed upon the Cape. "I tell you, I ve made this 
passage more times than I can remember, and I haven t 
laid eyes on that there island since 1882! The fog has 
never raised. " And the day before, conditions being favor 
able for the risky feat, the Captain had been able to reduce 
time by passing through the Straits of Lemaire, instead of 
going around Staten Island. It was exciting business, 
made more breathless by sight of a great wreck, standing 
stark upright in her doom of shallow water off the main 
land. 

Our farthest south was Lat. 57 32 , Lon. 67 28 . And 
though we had some little difficulty "making westing" and 
were driven back time and again, our traverse "from 50 
to 50" was but fifteen days, which is almost better than a 
master mariner dare hope. 

"How could you endure such a life!" women a-many 
have said to me. There was no single moment of weari- 
someness to either Jack or me. Think of the industrious 
working hours even I, suddenly inspired by one of the 
anecdotes from Captain or officers, wrote a sea yarn, i i The 
Wheel," afterwards published at a round price by a news 
paper syndicate. He had been much surprised and de 
lighted when, without warning or comment, I laid my 
manuscript with his night-reading. And after I had bene 
fited by suggestions from him: "It s quite good enough 
for you to go ahead and market ! " he advised to my aston 
ishment. 

For at least three hours daily, on deck in fine weather, 



242 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

otherwise sitting below on his high bunk with a bright 
"angle-lamp" at either end, Jack read aloud while I em 
broidered a new supply of fine lingerie. We read every 
thing from Chinese lore to Eobert W. Chambers. "And 
for once, my companion grinned, i I Ve time to read Sue s 
Wandering Jew. 7 I never could see the time for it 
before." 

Oh, the vivifying salt air, and the sea-food good old 
"salt horse" and beef tongue, and the cook s inspired 
concoctions of tinned dainties! Captain Chapman had 
brought along a well-stocked hencoop solely because there 
was to be a woman aboard; but after he had been taken 
mysteriously ill the day before sighting the Horn, the 
fresh eggs had been a boon. Indeed, he lived many weeks 
because of the whites of eggs I was able to serve him ; but 
he died two days after arriving at Seattle and alas, be 
fore his wife could come to him from Maine. Cancer of 
the stomach, the doctors diagnosed. I spent a whole night, 
in the hotel, sadly enough, but glad of my detailed notes, 
writing Mrs. Chapman a log of the voyage from the day 
her husband was stricken. 

So placidly and promptly his old self was Jack at sea, 
that I, slowly recuperating from acute nerve-strain, con 
templated him with the amazement women must ever feel 
toward certain phases of their menfolk. My diary ex 
claims in wonder: "I do believe the man has utterly for 
gotten New York and its abominations!" But later, when 
I had hurt a finger, and developed a "run-around" that held 
me sleepless through nights of pain, his devotion seemed 
to carry a new note, and there were moments when I saw 
float up through the deeps of his eyes a knowledge of all 
that those weary eight weeks had meant to me. 

The Master and Jack gathered fuel for everlasting fun 
at my expense. Two long connecting staterooms had been 
fitted up for us, that we might have separate bunks. It 
was to general systemic upset that I attributed an annoy- 



CAPE HORN VOYAGE 243 

ing attack of hives that followed sailing. With tin upon 
tin of cream of tartar from the ship s galley my offended 
stomach was dosed; I tried sleeping all over the vessel aft 
in the main cabin, and even in the chart-room, where [ 
seemed to rest the best. And the consumption of cream 
of tartar and sympathy in the cabin went on apace. Then 
a suspicion began to dawn in the Captain, which precipitated 
an investigation of my freshly painted wooden bunk. The 
secret was out. All the scrubbing and painting and fumiga 
tion had failed to dislodge the last of a nest of the ubiquitous 
bed-bug that a ship is never able quite to eradicate. A 
broad grin was evident from stem to stern of the Dirigo 
the day a young sailor had finally eradicated the pest, and 
I never heard the last of my "hives." 

Would you pursue beauty indescribable, go to sea on a 
wind-jammer. I know no more exalted moments than 
when, a hundred miles off the coast of Brazil I have set my 
face to the four quarters of the heavens, upon which were 
painted as many astounding sunsets, with a heavy moon 
lifting to spill thick silver in a fading copper sea; or have 
clung in the eyes of her, the great steel body of the ship 
plunging enormously onward among the night-green rollers 
of her moonlit highway, her orderly forest of masts sway 
ing, swerving, to the weight of full sails gargantuan pearls, 
hard and bright, strung to the loftiest spars of the golden 
masts, white-gleaming in the very witchery of moonlight 
that transfigures all their majesty into the immateriality 
of a vision. Masefield knows it all : 

I have heard the song of the blossoms and the old chant of the 

sea, 
And seen strange lands from under the arched white sails of 

ships." 

How could I live such a life ? Woe is me how can I live 
without it ! 

Night after night, fair weather or foul and it was all 



244 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

of a magnificence, dead calm or great guns blowing I took 
a note-book and pencil to the poop hatch, and painted, as 
well as I could in words, the sunsets and their mirrored 
reflections on the vast dome. Bits of these " sketches " 
are in "The Mutiny of the Elsinore." On a day I may 
come upon the rest among Jack s own notes, and drop an 
hour from a busy dozen to find my feet again treading the 
deck or the fore-and-aft bridge of the Dirigo, stately and 
beautiful moving house of ocean, now, along with our old 
friend the Tymeric, at one with the slime. For the Huns 
got them both. I would that mermen and mermaids could 
people them for ay ! 

For exercise we boxed lustily, trained and played with 
the puppy, and climbed into the "top" of the mainmast 
the first foot-hold of the same above deck, reached by preca 
rious, lurching way of the shrouds from the rail. In Jack s 
pocket was a book, in mine my embroidery. Here, remote, 
ecstatic, above the "wrinkled sea" and the slender fabric 
of steel, we lived some of our finest hours, enthralled by 
the recurrent miracle of unbored days, love ever regenerate, 
and contemplation of our unwasted years. 

Once around the Horn, Jack took to hooking albatross, 
catching quite a number. Some were liberated, but several 
he kept. I still have the skins twelve feet from tip to tip, 
if I remember aright. 

One of his activities was pulling teeth for the crew 
to say nothing of assisting Possum to shed her puppy- 
molars which, in lack of normal food and bones, were 
troublesome in letting go. For Jack had not forgotten to 
bring along his Snark dentistry case. 

The first news of an almost forgotten world in five 
months was of the Titanic disaster, and, next, that our old 
acquaintance, President Alfaro of Ecuador, and his son (a 
West Point man) had been murdered in Quito and their 
headless bodies dragged through the streets. 

And would any one know what Jack London thought 



CAPE HORN VOYAGE 245 

of t enduring such a life, half a year away from the land 
spaces of the world : 

"Mate," he said in all earnestness, as the dear, gray, 
battered hull towed up Puget Sound, looking pensively at 
the sailors aloft making all snug, I wish it had been a year, 
or years! You remember, don t you? how happy I was 
stocking up inexhaustible reading matter, in case we got 
driven back from the Horn and had to double the Cape of 
Good Hope, and on around the world that way!" 

There had been one shadow upon me. One evening 
about three months out, at table, the Mate, Fred Mortimer, 
remarked : 

"I never drink on duty. I drink very little anyway; 
just a glass now and again on shore with the fellows." 
Jack replied, to my dismay : 

"That is what I am now working toward. I have, by 
putting myself, for the first time in my life, where I am 
absolutely free for months of alcohol, with alcohol en 
tirely purged from my system in a position, also for the 
first time in my life, to review the whole question of alcohol 
with reference to myself and that system, and my brain. 
I have learned, to my absolute satisfaction, that / am not 
an alcoholic in any sense of the word. Therefore, when 
I am on land again, I shall drink, as you drink, occa 
sionally, deliberately, not because I have to have alcohol 
in the economy of my physical system, but because / want 
to, we ll say for social purposes. I never have been so 
happy in my life concerning alcohol with reference to my 
self, as I am right now this minute. It has never mastered 
me, I now know; it never shall. There is no danger of it 
mastering me." 

Although I knew he was giving us the honest content 
of his best conclusions in the matter, I also felt that I 
knew he would fail of the perfection of such a plan. He 
did. But what counts in the end is the end, and near that 
end he drank but little. 



246 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Four days in Seattle were spent, if the newspapers 
were to be trusted, in a lavender satin-lined suite, Jack at 
tired exquisitely in pink silk pajamas and reveling in per 
fumed ablutions. 

It was the old Puebla that carried us down the coast. 
There were two reasons for this voyage : one, we were not 
wearied of the sea; the other, it was feasible for us to have 
Possum with us more than would have been allowed by rail. 
The evening of August second we sat in the front row at 
the Oakland Orpheum, our seats ordered by wireless from 
outside the previous day. And it was one of our happiest 
homecomings, as will be seen. 

For, the long voyage ended, we looked for another child 
in March a child love-beckoned, to fill a heart s desire 
once bereft. But owing solely to the ignorance in which we 
had been left of certain conditions that should have been 
corrected before another birth was to be thought of, a 
second blighting disappointment was suffered within a 
month of our return. 

Jack was sadly cast down, though he said little. But 
his somber state cropped out indirectly in a letter to me. 
He was entertaining a houseful of guests who had been with 
us when I was obliged to go into hospital for a few days. 
Some criticisms had been made of his supporting a trio or 
more of his pet hobo philosophers so picturesquely and 
sympathetically delineated in "The Little Lady of the Big 
House" as "the seven sages of the Madrono Grove. " The 
title was a reminiscence of his delving into Chinese Legend 
on the Dirigo. He wrote me in a strain that showed a cumu 
lative discouragement with human things that had led him 
to take agriculture so seriously: 

1 As for , I get more sheer pleasure out of an hour s talk 

with him than all my inefficient Italian laborers have ever given 
me. He pays his way. My God, the laborers never have paid theirs. 

The Ranch has never lost much money on X , and Y , and 

g 1 and R , and T , and all the rest of the fellows who ve 



CAPE HORN VOYAGE 247 

had a few meals and beds out of me. The Ranch has lost a hell 
of a lot on the weak sticks of cash-per-day laborers who ve battened 
off of me and on me. Don t forget that the Ranch is my problem. 
This one and that one never helped me. It was I, when I was ripe, 
and when I saw a flicker of intelligence in this one and that one, 
who proceeded to shake things down. What all these various ones 
have lost for me in cash is a thousand times more than the price of 
the few meals and beds I ve given to my bums. And I give these 
paltry things of paltry value out of my heart. I ve not much heart 
throb left for my fellow beings. Shall I cut this wee bit thing out 
too?" 

Yet right near this time, returning from a week s ab 
sence, he brought home with him a false friend of his early 
writing days, an old beneficiary who, for some fancied slight, 
had kept away from Jack for years and talked bitterly 
against him. I, at sight of Jack with this man in tow, was 
inwardly as mad as a much dampened mother-hen, although 
it was incumbent upon me to be courteous in my own house. 
Jack had taken me aside at first opportunity: 

"The poor devil/ he said, "Mate Woman, be good 
to him ; I know you will. It gave me pleasure to bring him. 
After all, he s only hypersensitive I don t know what 
about, in my case ; but at any rate, I decided to forget his 
silly treatment of me it was only silly, after all. 

Home from the Bohemian Club s High Jinks, Jack set 
tled into his stride on the new book, "John Barleycorn," 
by some reviewers jocosely dubbed his "alcoholic memoirs" 
and "a bibulous epic." But the work, containing so much 
autobiographical material of serious portent, was far from 
humorous. Despite the author s sense of artistry that made 
it read like fiction and placed certain exaggerations to best 
advantage, during my typing, as it unfolded day by day, 
I was conscious of shock upon shock at the content of Jack s 
mind. Not only with regard to his past, far and near, was 
I impressed ; but also by a realization of the restlessness and 
deep-reaching melancholy he suffered from the frustration 



248 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

of his dearest ambition victorious fatherhood of my chil 
dren. But our days together were happy, and here is what 
he wrote in my copy of " Smoke Bellew": 

"I am still filled with the joy of your voice that was mine 
last night when you sang. Sometimes, more than any clearly 
wrought concept of you, there are fiber-sounds in your throat that 
tell me all the lovableness of you, and that I love as madly as I 
have always loved all the rest of you." 
"Oct. 2, 1912. " 

Four hundred acres known as the Freund Ranch, had 
been annexed to the upper reaches of the Kohler, though 
Jack had to mortgage. The "Wolf House " was slowly 
mounting, story by story, Jack s big draft horses laboring 
four and four, from a quarry three miles across the valley 
and up our mountain, with the great volcanic boulders that 
were the same red-amethystine hue of the redwood logs 
also to be used in construction. "We gloat over the grow 
ing red arches, " my diary reads; and to me, in Oakland, 
Jack wrote : 

The stone house grows. Two four-horse wagons hauling lumber 
to-day 20 loads of it. Bar accidents, we ll be in our own home 
next fall." 

And he goes on in the same letter: 

"Miss you? I ve got to have you away from me for a couple 
of days truly to appreciate you. To myself, all the time, these days, 
I keep swearing : * She s a wonder ! She s a wonder ! 

"For you are. You re the best thing that ever happened to 
me. 

"When are you coming home? I miss you so dreadfully." 

In early November, I went again into hospital for an 
overhauling that included a minor operation. We made it 
up that Jack should hold my hand during the taking of the 
ether, so that we might "keep up the lines " to the end of 



CAPE HOEN VOYAGE 249 

consciousness. I seemed to come to the Edge of Things, 
when another moment would yield me the Riddle of the 
Universe. Poised on the brink, I hung in an agony of de 
sire to fix firmly what I should grasp, in order to pass the 
priceless gift to Jack possessed by an overwhelming 
knowledge of what it would mean to his brain. Then some 
thing snapped, and I knew nothing until I heard : 

" She s gone, Mr. London," and I felt him relax his 
clasp. 

"Oh, no, Fm not, Mate!" protested I. But that was the 
last thought until I came out. 

Jack s daily calls, with their tea-parties for two, were a 
source of joy to me; and one day, blowing into my room 
full of news of the day, laden with magazines and books, he 
burst forth : 

"I simply cannot tell you what these afternoons mean to 
me how I look forward to them from day to day ! 

Then he went on to tell how he had signed a five-year 
serial contract with The Cosmopolitan, for all his fiction. 
This, so long as he delivered the pledged amount of fiction, 
was not to interfere with any non-fiction he might write and 
sell to other periodicals. Hence, when the semi-autobio 
graphical "John Barleycorn" appeared serially, it was in 
the Saturday Evemng Post. This work, while it created 
a sensation, had no phenomenal book-sale. Jack laid the 
fact to the Post s enormous circulation, and vowed that 
the next time he sold anything to that weekly it must pay 
him a larger rate to offset the diminished book-royalties. 
As to the Post itself, he said : 

"I hate the sight of it because, forsooth, when I open 
a number I can t lay it down, and it takes too much time 
from my other reading ! 

Once, at a dance in a Honolulu hotel, Cyrus Curtis, stand 
ing alone, was pointed out to Jack. "I m going to have 
some fun watch me ! " he whispered. Stepping over to the 
great publisher, he said: 



250 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"Mr. Curtis, I believe? IVe done some work for you 
now and again. * 

The older man, little dreaming that this was the author 
of two of his most successful serials, "The Call of the 
Wild" and "John Barleycorn, " looked politely inquiring, 
probably thinking the modest-voiced, soft-collared man 
might be a typesetter. 

"Jack London is my name." 

1 Jack London ! Man, do get me out of this ! And the 
two, arms linked, disappeared into a veranda and were seen 
no more until time to go home. 

Recalling those afternoon teas in my hospital room, a 
very sweet thing happened one day. Somewhere I have 
referred to Jack s regret that he had never learned the soft, 
pretty ways of social intercourse. "I never bought flowers 
for a woman in my life," I had heard him say. One after 
noon, lying and gazing into the sunny tree-tops, I caught 
myself wondering how Jack would look entering with a big 
bunch of double-violets. I turned to see whom the door 
was admitting, and there was he, red and flustering with an 
armful of flowers, and my double-violets a bunch as large 
as his head! "There are yours, Mate Woman and these 
others are for Joan. His elder girl was ill at her mother s 
home. Jack proceeded : 

"Curious coincidence IVe just got your doctor-bill and 
Joan s nurse-bill. And they re identical $125 each!" 

"I ll tell you something queerer than that," I answered, 
handing him a New York check for the same amount. 
1 1 This is in payment for my one and only story, l The Wheel, 
and I mean for you to put it into the family pot to pay 
Joan s nurse!" 

"I ll do it, I ll do it!" Jack looked at me steadily 
a moment, an odd expression in the eyes that were as blue 
at the moment as my violets. N 

But what could be sweeter than the tale of an incident 



CAPE HORN VOYAGE 251 

that came from his lips one day when he had slipped into 
the bedside chair and taken my hand looking with affec 
tion upon where it lay, idle for once, in his palm: 

"I m a silly fool, I suppose I don t know what ever 
made me do it; but down in the Forum Cigar Store this 
noon, matching for cigarettes, the men got to talking about 
adventure, and women, and what not. I don t know how it 
came about; but I found myself telling those fellows I 
can t even remember their names how I had once nearly 
signed on to go to the Marquesas ; how I longed to see those 
and all the isles of the South Seas, with, in my eyes, more 
especially the romance of conquest among the brown 
maidens sung by poet and sailor. . . . All very well, my 
dear ; but I didn t stop with that ; I went on, the proudest, 
happiest man you ever saw, and bragged, positively bragged 
to those city men that when I had at last gone into those 
same South Seas, with the memory of an old longing, it was 
with my small white woman by my side. And that, co-ad 
venturers, we lived our own faithful romance of the South 
Seas." 

When I was able to leave hospital and sail on the 
Roamver, he brought her from Vallejo to Oakland, ac 
companied by a house-guest, Laurence Godfrey Smith, a 
concert pianist whom he had known in Australia, To him 
Jack declared : 

"We chose a boat as small as this so that we could flee 
from even our best friends once in a while ; but we re going 
to make an exception of you, Laurie. Though, I m afraid, 
dubiously, "that we ll have to put you to bed on the floor 
beside the centerboard, with the aid of a shoe-horn!" And 
when, months afterward, we saw "Laurie" off to Australia, 
Jack, contemplating the silent grand piano, said : "It seems 
as if some one had died!" 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

THE BAD YEAR; AGRICULTURE 

1913 

1913, though it yielded a measure of good fortune, Jack 
was wont to name his "bad year." It did seem as if 
almost everything that could hurt befell him. First, there 
was the death of a woman friend, an invalid, whom for years 
he had seen seldom. Never had I observed him so stirred 
by the passing of any adult person. That this one, so 
bright, so brave, should have ceased, for once made his 
philosophy waver. 

"I did something last night I never did before," he 
confessed. "I concentrated every thought and actually 
tried to call that girl back. If any one could, I think it 
would be myself. ... Of course," he smiled half -foolishly, 
"there was no answer." 

His sister s boy, Irving Shepard, was nearly electro 
cuted while playing in a tree during school recess, and lay 
precariously ill for months in our house. 

Jack himself had to undergo a sudden operation for 
appendicitis. 

One of the most valuable draft brood-mares, in foal, was 
found dead in pasture, from a bullet. 

An old man ran amuck one night and "shot up the 
ranch." Jack landing upon the scene, in the space of three 
seconds had disarmed the lunatic, who, in retaliation, haled 
him into court for choking an old man into insensibility. 
"Me, choking an old man into insensibility!" Jack fumed. 
"Can t you see me?" 

252 



THE BAD YEAR 253 

Then, there was serious want of early rains, and a 
1 false spring " brought out blossom and young fruit untime 
ly, only to be frosted after belated showers. On top of that, 
the valleys of California were visited by a plague of grass 
hoppers. They fastened even upon Jack s baby eucalyptus 
trees, which were supposedly immune from pest and blight. 
Nature s beneficence, in his view, was more than counter 
balanced by nature s cruelty. * Certainly, he would groan 
in unison with his harassed sister, "God doesn t love the 
farmer! Look at that beautiful half -grown cornfield 
scorched and withered by sun and north wind!" 

One of the bitterest mischances was an attack upon him, 
in court, by a moving-picture promoter whose name enemies 
metamorphosed into * * Porchclimber. " The suit was brought 
to establish whether or not Jack London owned any copy 
right in his work. A noted eastern attorney was retained, 
one whom we heard had had a hand in the drafting of copy 
right law, to take charge of the infamous prosecution. The 
whole affair was so baldly pernicious that the Los Angeles 
judge threw it out of court. 

Jack had gone into the fight with every atom of his 
energy, and, since his downfall would mean that of all 
American authors, he was backed, should he lose, by the 
Authors League of America, in the determination to carry 
the fight into the highest courts of the Union. Very quietly 
the noted lawyer returned whence he came, and it has never 
come to my ears that he boasted of the part for which he 
had been cast. 

Later on, as an outcome of the controversy, two film- 
versions of "The Sea Wolf" were being shown on opposite 
sides of the same street in Los Angeles. Of Hobart Bos- 
worth s depiction of the hero Jack said: 

"When I wrote The Sea Wolf, the physical image 
of Larsen that took shape in my mind was more or less 
vague in outline and detail. Nevertheless, it was there, in 
my mind, and I carried it with me for years, until it was 



254 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

almost real to me. But it fled, like a ghost at daybreak, when 
I saw on the screen Mr. Hobart Bosworth, the real, three 
dimension, flesh-and-blood Sea Wolf. Until I die the image 
of the Sea Wolf will be Mr. Bosworth as I saw him on the 
screen. " 

There were moments, during the preparation for the 
copyright fight, when Jack became sc enraged that I was 
alarmed about him. But one morning, after an untoward 
outbreak of "catastrophic red wrath 7 the preceding night, 
he came to me with a face of humility : 

" I m all right now, Mate. You needn t be afraid for me 
any more. I ll be good from now on. Only, you know, it s 
awfully hard to sit by quietly and let these sons of toads 
try to take the earnings of your whole life s work away 
from you ! 

"If they get me," he said one gloomy day when I had 
cheered him with the reminder that I shared his trouble 
equally, and that we must endure everything shoulder to 
shoulder, "If they get me, you might as well know that 
we ll lose everything we have the Ranch, even; every 
thing. But I ve still my earning capacity, and we ll buy a 
big ship outright, one of those we were looking at last 
winter in the Alameda Basin. And we 11 put in a fireplace, 
like Lord and Lady Brassey s on the Sunbeam, and take 
your grand piano, and be quit forever of a country where a 
man s life-work can be cheated out of him by a lot of thea 
trical sharks and their crooked copyright lawyers and 
we ll tell them all to go to hell !" he wound up out of breath. 
And later, "Why, we could even pick up odd freights here 
and there over the world," he became interested in spite 
of his righteous wrath, and make the old tub pay for her 
self ! What do you say I 

Eanch guests can attest the incredulous delight my at 
titude afforded him in this dark period. "Would you be 
lieve it ! " he was never tired of acclaiming, i I actually think 
she wanted me to ride to my fall ! I rather thought the idea 



THE BAD YEAR 255 

did not shock her much. By next morning she had got well 
under way with cabin-plans and as the days went by and 
my troubles and my moods smoothed out, she seemed dis 
appointed that I was not to be driven to embarking upon 
the endless voyage. 

Perhaps I was disappointed why not? Had he not al 
ways proved a calmer, happier soul in a sea-existence away 
from the warring frictions of the land ? 

It may be that hardest of misfortunes was the losing of 
Jack s dream house by fire. Everything else paled, how 
ever, when one day, overheated on a long walk while suffer 
ing from a bad attack of poison-oak, I fell ill. For some 
time Jack had been absorbed in work, ranch, and other 
problems; but now, faced with a human, vital considera 
tion, all beside could go by the board. As he said : 

"Mate Woman, I always suspected I had a heart, but 
now I know. I am the proudest man in the world I have 
a heart. And when I was face to face with the possibility of 
losing you, that heart seemed to come right into my throat 
I ate it, I tell you, and I forced it down. Truly, truly, I 
was near dying ! 

It was about this time that he said to a man friend, 
who told me long afterward, "If anything should happen 
to Charmian, I d kill myself. I wouldn t try to live without 
her." 

There were strains and wounds unhealable dealt Jack 
in that unlucky twelve-month, trials of spirit that caused 
him to say in retrospect: 

"My face changed forever in that year of 1913. It has 
.never been the same since." 

Still, midmost of all this, he protested having been 
called a pessimist by a Jewish cub reporter: 

"I am not a pessimist at all. Why, I exploited to you 
that love is the biggest thing in the world, and held out my 
arms to you and to all the world in love while I was 
talking to you. No man who is a lover can be a pessimist. 



256 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

When you have grown a few years older, you will realize 
that a man who disagrees with your political, economic and 
sociological beliefs, does not necessarily have to be a pessi 
mist especially if he be a self -proclaimed lover. " 

I was not surprised when Jack announced that he had 
made a gamble. Two brothers-in-law of a famous writer, 
with alluring credentials, had approached him with a propo 
sition to exchange his signature for certain Mexican land 
stocks. Jack looked very carefully into the business, and 
assured me he was safe in case the project fell through. 
* I invest nothing, you see. They want my name in it, that 
is all; and I stand to win." But they got him in the end. 

Then there was a so-called "fidelity" loan outfit that 
"trimmed" him for a similar amount. This matter was 
taken into court, and while the company was patently 
fraudulent, it won upon a technicality. Jack had chosen a 
youthful lawyer who had his career to make: 

"Might as well give an unknown a chance! And he ll 
probably represent me as well as another." He was fond 
of saying: "A practitioner is one who practices upon his 
victims, anyway!" 

These two ventures left Jack out of pocket about ten 
thousand dollars. Once I made reference to them, and he 
said: 

"Please I don t want to talk albout them at all." 
Which was unlike his usual eagerness to elucidate his af 
fairs. It must be recorded that when he went into specula 
tions, he labeled them frankly: 

"Eemember what I tell you, in case these go wrong 
that they are deliberate gambles. I think they are good 
gambles ; but sheer gambles they are. There 7 s nothing like 
playing a flyer on a long chance. Pure lottery. Sometimes 
a chance proves a big winner. I ve never won anything yet. 
Maybe now s my chance!" 

All I had to say was that a man who "made good" as 
he did, in all his obligations, had a right to "take a flyer" 



THE BAD YEAR 257 

upon occasion. Jack smiled with pleasure; and his face 
bore the same expression when he told some one how, one 
day aboard the Roamer, lying off an inland city, I had 
said: 

1 1 Don t let yourself get stale aboard, if you feel like hav 
ing a little recreation. Why don t you go ashore and look 
up a good card game of some sort. It will do you good." 

He took the suggestion, but returned shortly. 

Oh, I pirooted around a while, and watched some play 
ing; but I didn t see anything that looked half so good 
to me as this cabin and the little wife-woman who wanted 
me to do as I pleased! . . . Where s that pinochle deck! 
I can beat you a rubber of three out of five games before 
Sano has that fish-chowder ready. 

January aboard the Roamer saw Jack drafting his first 
chapter of "The Mutiny of the Elsinore" a whacking 
good sea-story, true, modern; beneath the romance and 
action a heartfelt protest against the decayed condition 
of the American merchant marine. It was finished in 
August, and serial publication, under title of "The Gang 
sters," begun in Hearst Magazine for November. For 
once, he was touched with his creation. This from my 
diary : Mate has a great moment in creating the character 
of Captain West. Stopped me as I went by, to read me 
morning s work; and his eyes were shining with joy in our 
mutual appreciation of what he had done." In my gift- 
copy is written, dated September 21, 1914 : 

"We, too, have made this voyage together, and, in all happi 
ness, known the winter North Atlantic, the pamperos off the Plate, 
and the Sou west gales and Great West Wind Drift off the Horn. 
And we made westing, as we have made westing in all the years 
since first we loved." 

"Lying on the beach at Waikiki," wrote a Honolulu 
newspaperman, "I learned that The Mutiny of the Elsi- 



258 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

nore was written to illustrate how the blond white man 
from the Northern countries of Europe is rapidly being 
crowded out of America, and that as he disappears, he 
will go down fighting to the last, but that he will go down 
beneath the weight of the Latin, the Slav, and other South 
ern European races that are pouring into America, whom 
he can rule as long as he lives, but with whom he cannot 
successfully compete in the continual struggle for exist 
ence. 

Home from our blissful river-drifting, Jack plunged 
deeper than ever into ranch development, the while we 
honeymooned amidst all the quickening farm activities. A 
"frosty honeymoon, " Jack laughed, for ice was in the 
ground, and there was an unwonted snowfall. In March he 
gave me "The Night-Born, " with this in its fly-leaf: 

1 Dear My- Woman : 

"The seasons come and go. The years slide together in the long 
backward trail, and yet you and I remain, welded with our arms 
about each other moving onward together and unafraid of any 
future. " 

In a new edition of "The Call of the Wild," illustrated 
by Paul Bransom, he wrote : 

"It was many dear years ago when I first gave you a copy of 
this book in the days when I was hearing a love call ; and never 
has that same love called more loudly than it calls now in this 
year 1913, when my arms are still full of you, and my heart still 
full of you." 

It was all a part of his yearning to escape from the world 
at large. Several times, without self-consciousness, even 
before others, he held out his arms to me when I came into 
the living room as if he must clasp something, some one 
that came nearest to understanding his need. 



THE BAD YEAE 259 

To facilitate his heavy correspondence, a dictaphone was 
added to our office equipment a spring machine, in antici 
pation of the installation of electricity. I was seriously 
concerned at this innovation, realizing its threat toward 
the old intimacy of working hours. 

"But think, my dear," Jack explained, justly indeed, 
"I don t have to wait for you; I can dictate to the damned 
thing any moment, in bed, even, if I please, while you pursue 
your precious beauty sleep !" 

After which he practised on the "damned thing" for 
an uninterrupted afternoon,, reeling off half a hundred 
neglected letters. When I came to transcribe them, at the 
end of each cylinder I was greeted with a love message in a 
fair imitation of my husband s voice: "Her master s 
voice!" giggled he. How could any one try to obstruct 
the progress of such a being! 

In April, he went to Los Angeles on moving-picture 
business, but was back in three days: "I never stay very 
long where you are not," he said upon returning. 

In May "The Abysmal Brute," that "brief for the 
purification of the prize-fight game," came from the Cen 
tury Company, catching its author in a darker phase than 
even I had guessed ; for when he put the little book into my 
hands, I found this inside : 

The years pass, we live much, and yet, to me, I find but one 
vindication for living, but one bribe for living and that vindica 
tion is you, the bribe is you. 

"Your Lover, 
"Jack London. " 

And here is something about love : 

"Woman, beyond all doubt, remains the biggest thing in the 
world to-day. The love-motif is the highest thing that can exist 
between normal humans. To me, existence is impossible without 
love. Love does not lead nor direct. Love satisfies as no other thing 
in human knowledge satisfied. Love is the ultimate benediction of 



260 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

living. It ennobles ; it makes the impossible possible ; it makes life 
worth living. 7 



A portion of Jack s hypochondria might be laid to the 
bodily distemper that was leading up to an acute attack 
of appendicitis. I think he was subsequently in lighter 
humor. The history of his recovery from the knife, against 
illustrating that magnificent physical endownment, might be 
written down as "uneventful" in the annals of surgery, 
except for its astonishing rapidity. 

On July 6, we rushed him to Oakland and into hospital. 
On the 8th, Dr. William S. Porter operated. Four days 
later, an important moving-picture conference was held in 
Jack s room. Other afternoons were filled with callers, 
and his room was banked in flowers. "Only," the bed-rid 
den one grumbled sheepishly, "I wish men wouldn t bring 
me flowers somehow it mekes me feel silly." Frolich, the 
sculptor, unwittingly mitigated the situation by contribut 
ing an absurd corbel, a cowled monk in the ultimate throes 
of seasickness, and Jack racked himself with mirth. News 
paper men and women came and went, and headlines featur 
ing "The Call of the Wild Appendix," and "Jack London 
Takes the Count," beguiled his morning tray. 

On the seventh day, the patient stood on his feet, then 
inspected the building from a wheeled chair. Next morn 
ing, Dr. Porter, in his own car, conveyed Jack London to the 
house on Twenty-seventh Street. The obstreperous con 
valescent insisted upon going out to dine the following 
night, as well as to the theater, enjoyed a Turkish bath and 
a cafe dinner on the tenth day after the operation ; and on 
the twelfth he left for Los Angeles to jump into "the hot 
test, hardest business fight" of his life with the wily but 
ingratiating Hebrew, Mr. "Porchclimber." The twentieth 
day beheld him at home and in the saddle another tribute 
to his own vitality and to the cunning of his surgeon friend. 

Jack could not abide ether as an anaesthetic. This time 



THE BAD YEAR 261 

he was first given chloroform, and when, once unconscious, 
ether was substituted, he resisted so violently that chloro 
form again had to be resorted to. 

With that prescience of the Builder that brooks no de 
lay, Jack mortgaged everything in sight, even our cottage 
and the new one he had erected for Eliza, to obtain funds 
needful for his big aims. On August 18, with but $300 in 
bank, and large obligations pressing, he negotiated another 
mortgage in order to complete the Wolf House before win 
ter. But I always knew, beyond questioning, that no matter 
what hazards he seemed to be taking, he divined the way out. 

The Bank placed an insurance on the Hill Ranch cover 
ing half the amount loaned. There was no other insurance 
on the huge purple-red pile, since every one agreed that 
rock and concrete, massive beams and redwood logs with 
the bark on, were practically fireproof unless ignited in a 
dozen places, owing to the quadrangular construction and 
cement partitions. 

Nevertheless, three nights later, August 22, the entire 
inflammable part of the high stone shell was destroyed. I 
was awakened by voices from Jack s porch. Tiptoeing out, 
.1 saw Eliza, by his bedside, point in the direction of the 
Wolf House half a mile away, where flames and smoke rose 
straight into the windless, star-drifted sky. 

Teams were harnessed, and leaving the Japanese to 
keep an eye on things at home, if incendiarism was in the 
air, we drove leisurely across the Ranch. "What s the use 
of hurry f" Jack demanded. "If that is the Big House 
burning, nothing can stop it now ! 

All the countryside, that had come to feel a personal 
pride and ownership in "Jack s House," had gathered or 
was arriving. Public sentiment ran high: and I think, 
had the criminal or criminals who fired it been detected 
that night, there would have been a stringing-up to the 
nearest limbs, in lusty frontier fashion. 



262 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Already the beautiful red-tile roof had clattered down 
inside the glowing walls, and the only care that need be ex 
ercised was in regard to the adjacent forest. "Promise 
me," I said to Jack, so lately out of hospital, "that you 
won t forget yourself, and overdo." He made the pledge 
and kept it, very quietly walking about and directing the 
men. 

"Why don t you cry, or get excited, or something, you 
two I asked a neighbor. * You don t seem to realize what s 
happened to you!" 

"What s the use?" Jack repeated his thought. "It 
won t rebuild the house. Though it can be rebuilt!" he 
swore cheerfully, purpose in his eye. 

But uneraseably beneath our contained exterior lay the 
vision of it six hours before, palpitating in the mid-sum 
mer sunset light, when we had emerged on horseback from 
the ravine Jack called his house-garden. He had burst out : 

"How beautiful Our House, Mate Woman! Did I tell 
you that Harrison Fisher, after I brought him home from 
the Jinks two weeks ago, told some one it was the most 
beautiful house in the West?" 

Yes, Jack laughed and buoyed up the spirits of the 
Eanch while his dream castle ascended in lurid smoke that 
hot August night. But when at four in the dawn, the tension 
relaxed, and uppermost in his mind loomed the wicked, cruel, 
senseless destruction of the only home he had ever made 
for himself, he lay in my pitying arms and shook like a 
child. After a few moments he stilled, and said : 

"It isn t the money loss though that is grave enough 
just at this time. The main hurt comes from the wanton 
despoiling of so much beauty." 

A long pause, and then, referring to the recent death 
of the bridegroom of a young friend : 

"Do you know thinking it all over, I d be willing to go 
through this whole night again, and many times, if it could 
bring Tom back ! 



THE BAD YEAR 263 

We never did learn whose hand applied the torch. I 
had all but written assassin. For the razing of his house 
killed something in Jack, and he never ceased to feel the 
tragic inner sense of loss. To this day the ruins of amethys 
tine stone, arch beyond arch, tower above tower, stand 
mute yet appealing. Total strangers, not all of them women, 
have wept before them, have cried out, "Poor Jack!" 

From his immediate actions, however, none but Eliza 
and I guessed the extent of his repining. Something had to 
be done, and quickly. Forni, the master-mason, must be 
taken in hand. He was like a father who had lost a child, 
and in danger of losing his reason. Two of his men, the 
big, blue-eyed Martinelli brothers, wandered around the 
unapproachably hot ruins like spirits suddenly bereft of 
Paradise, crossing their breasts and murmuring, "Mary!" 
1 1 Christ!" Even Jack had to turn away when the man 
who had nailed the last Spanish tile before the conflagra 
tion, said with wet eyes : "Well, my roof never leaked, any 
way!" 

The fire was on Friday. On Monday, Jack had the en 
tire crew putting up a splendid retaining-wall of mossy 
gray stone, that had long been in his eye, on the right of a 
driveway to the smoking walls which came to be known 
simply as The Euins. Eliza was scarred to the soul by the 
sudden wiping out of her work she had superintended the 
building from start to finish; but she met Jack whole 
heartedly in showing the workmen and the country round 
about that the end of the world had not come. It was when 
we came to readjust that the loss became most evident. 

My diary calls it up: 

"We lay aside notes and samples, and plans drawn for 
this and that, and feel as if the bottom had fallen out of 
everything light, queer, unreal. 

I have been asked why Jack London, socialist, friend 
of the common man, built so large a house. And I have been 
glad that there were those who asked, for it has ever been 



264 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

my suspicion that some one who waited not to ask, set the 
brand to that house. 

How shall I say? Jack could not traffic in small things, 
any more than he could deftly handle trifling objects with 
his fingers. All he did was in a large way. His boyish 
memories were of moving from one small, inadequate 
wooden domicile to another. Being what he could not help 
being, and remaining true to himself, lover of large and 
enduring things, he must invite spaciousness and solidity 
room to breathe in, and for others to breathe in. The an 
cient frame cottage in which on the ranch he lived and 
worked and received all men at his table, was entirely dis 
proportionate to his needs. Being so indefatigable and sys 
tematic a worker and thinker he required everything to his 
hand. A smoothly running domestic menage made for 
efficiency in other matters. Here, where he had to live dur 
ing the three years while the Wolf House building went 
on intermittently, the rooms were crammed and jammed 
and spilling over with the very implements of his many 
branches of endeavor. Only the combined efforts of the 
two of us, and later a third, a secretary, made it anything 
less than distracting for Jack to function in the cramped 
apartments. Three-quarters of his library was packed away 
molding in the big stone barn half a mile away, and many 
the time he could not lay his hand upon some volume espe 
cially needed. 

Wanderer, yet deeply fond of his own home, a place 
for the permanence of his treasures curios, blankets, books, 
"gear" he sighed with content knowing that in the big 
house there would be a story in one wing devoted to the 
library ; above that, his roomy work-den ; on the first floor, 
dining room and kitchen. The middle story of the opposing 
wing was to be mine a place where I might retreat to rest 
and call my soul my own when the outside world was too 
much within our walls. Above, Jack s sleeping tower 
reared. Beneath mine were the guest chambers, and, still 



THE BAD YEAR 265 

below, servants quarters and the like. The connecting link 
of these two wings formed a two-story living-room, partially 
flanked by a gallery ; and underneath this high hall lay what 
Jack termed the "stag room," where no female might ven 
ture except by especial ukase from the lords of creation who 
might lounge and play billiards and otherwise disport them 
selves therein. The house foundation measured roughly 
eighty feet from corner to corner. 

It should be thought of, that house, in relation to Jack, 
not as a mansion, but as a big cabin, a lofty lodge, a hos 
pitable tepee, where he, simple and generous despite all 
his baffling intricacy, could stietch himself and beam upon 
you and me and all the world that gathered by his log- 
fires. I know a friend who appreciated this largeness of 
the man, and who with man s tenderness calls him the Big 
Chief. 

To one who suggests that this house would have been a 
recreation place for guests acquired by the sole reason of 
Jack s fame and prosperity," I am able to protest that it 
would have been the contrary in the Wolf House as in the 
rickety cottage, our transient household would have been 
made up mostly of the wanderers, the intellectual (and 
otherwise) hoboes, sometimes washed, sometimes not, while 
the master drove his pen for the multitude without. As 
always, these would have come to sit with us, and furnish 
grist for Jack s unsleeping brain-mill. That was the sort 
of "inspiration," to quote my inquirer, he would have con 
tinued to draw about him "within such walls of stone." 
Why, the very form of the rough rock hacienda was an in 
vitation, with its embracing wings, its sunny pool between 
the wide, arched corridors and grape-gnarled pergola ! The 
reason that seekers after the truth about Jack London find 
more reminder of him in the simple red boulder that lies 
upon his ashes than in the aching ruins of his great house, 
is because they do not know the all of Jack London. He 



266 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

was a man before all else big and solid, and spacious, and 
unvaryingly true to himself. 

And so with his ranching. There, too, he wrought large 
ly : No picayune methods for me, he would vow. * l When 
I go into the silence, I want to know that I have left be 
hind me a plot of land which, after the pitiful failures of 
others, I have made productive. . . . Can t you see? Oh, 
try to see ! In the solution of the great economic problems 
of the present age, I see a return to the soil. I go into farm 
ing because my philosophy and research have taught me to 
recognize the fact that a return to the soil is the basis of 
economics ... I see my farm in terms of the world, and 
the world in terms of my farm ... Do you realize that I 
devote two hours a day to writing and ten to farming! my 
thought-work, my preparation, at night, and when I am out- 
of-doors." 

Similar revelation of himself he gave on the witness 
stand only a few days before his death, when suit had been 
brought to restrain him from using his share of the waters 
of a creek boundary much needed in his scheme of agri 
culture. But in the whole sad affair, which contributed its 
weight toward his break-down, not one iota of understand 
ing was accorded him by the prosecutors, among whom were 
some near and dear to him. 

From time to time I would ask: "When, in the years to 
come, do you think you will ever pull even, financially, with 
your ranch project ?" And it was always with a laugh that 
he would return: "Never, my dear at least, I want and 
expect to have the place eventually sustain itself. That 
would be the natural object. But it will never make money 
for me, because there is so much developing I want to keep 
on doing, endless experiments I want to make." 

A noted socialist lecturer, with misapprehension and 
prejudice in his eye, spent a day or two on the ranch. "At 
last I see," said he. "I was wrong. In your work here, as 
you unfold it to me, I see a social creation!" 



THE BAD YEAR 267 

Once more, let me impress : temperamentally Jack Lon 
don was a Builder of books, of houses, of roads, of soil, of 
things that would outlast merely temporary uses. My house 
will be standing, act of God permitting, for a thousand years. 
My boat, act of God permitting, will be intact and afloat a 
hundred years or five hundred years hence. Little call to 
point out that he did not build for himself alone. 

4 Who will come after us, Mate Woman!" he looked into 
the distances. "Who will reap what I have sown here in 
this almighty sweet land? You and I will be forgotten. 
Others will come and go ; these, too, shall pass, as you and 
I shall pass, and others take their places, each telling his 
love, as I tell you, that life is sweet ! 

He was fond, at this time, of having me play Arthur 
Footers Rubaiyat Suite, particularly the section illustrat 
ing 

"How sultan after sultan, with his pomp, 

Abode his destined hour, and went his way." 

And Macdowell s "Sea Pieces" swept him out upon the 
tide of his dreams. 

True to his determination not to be downcast over the 
houseburning, Jack redoubled ranch operations. "I am 
the sailor on horseback!" chanted he. "Watch my dust! 
. . . Oh, I shall make mistakes a-many ; but watch my dream 
come true. And, as he loved the name of Sailor, Skipper, 
Captain, for the love he bore the sea, so he now loved as 
well to be greeted Farmer, what of his overmastering de 
sire to make blossom the exhausted wilderness. Beauty, in 
his precincts, began to reveal itself more and more in the 
light of tillable soil, of food-getting efficiency. "Don t 
grieve about the clearing of that field, or that little clump 
of scrubby redwoods," he would say. "We get used to a 
certain view, and the idea of altering it is untenable. 
But when it is altered, we are surprised how soon we adjust, 
and even forget. Remember, there is endless wildwood 



268 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

farther back it isn t as if I were depriving you of it. Try 
to dream with me my dreams of fruitful acres. Do not be a 
slave to an old conception. Try to realize what I am 
after/ 1 

In step with the day-dream went the visions of his 
slumber, and he loved them: "I am a keen dreamer, and I 
love to dream. It seems to me that my life is doubled by the 
amount of dreaming I do every night. Often he recounted 
to me a story of long hours spent in a verdant land where he 
seemed to be proprietor, rolling country where, just be 
yond each hill, great schemes of agricultural betterment 
were flourishing. Many times, he said, I was by his side : 
but for the most part he would be instructing intelligent 
foremen how to carry out his ideas. This trend in his un 
conscious mind increased until the day of his death. 

The former quiet of the ranch gave place to a pervasive 
hum of important matters afoot. Rending blasts of dyna 
mite far afield spoke of a new era in the somnolent order 
of the old land of the Spaniards. Jack founded his pure 
bred English Shire stable by the purchase of nothing less 
than Neuadd Hillside, grand champion of California, and 
once prize-winner in England. He weighed a ton, and was 
wondrously shaped withal. Cockerington Princess, cham 
pion of her own sex, also came to gladden our eyes, while 
the converting into stables of theretofore unused stone win 
ery buildings went on apace. Into each barn, for the men 
to scan and heed, was posted a long list of rules borrowed 
from a great western express corporation for the care and 
use of the horses. 

" Although the tails of these imported horses are docked, 
we won t dock their colts, " Jack remarked on the day the 
two grand beasts, pranked out show-fashion in colored 
worsted, were unloaded from the stock "palace car" amidst 
much comment in Glen Ellen. "Do you know," he asked 
me, "why horses like those aren t common sights on the 
country roads of the United States? I ll tell you: because 



THE BAD YEAR 269 

our farmers are so stupidly wasteful about saving feed! 
I mean just that. Instead of crowding the development of 
a colt, particularly the first year, by care and feeding, he 
turns it out to grub for itself in pasture. That first year is 
like the first year of any other baby. It s what so vitally 
counts. 9 

Six days before his voice was silenced, Jack said some 
thing like the following to an interviewer : 

"What is the difference between this good team and 
that team of scrubs? Man alive! What is the difference 
between that field, as it is now, and the same field as it was 
two years ago? What is the difference between anything 
that is strong and fine and well arranged be it words or 
stones or trees or ideas or what not and the same elements 
as they were in their unorganized weakness? Man the 
brain of man, the effort that man had put into man s su 
preme task organizing! That is the work of man, work 
that is worth a man s doing to take something second-rate 
and chaotic and to put himself into it until it becomes 
orderly and first-rate and fine. 

He was, in short, really far more interested in intro 
ducing better farming into Sonoma, County and the country 
at large than he was in leaving behind masterpieces of 
literature. 

As usual, for him to think out a thing was to see it done ; 
and early he had learned, with his instinct for teaching and 
for effort-saving, to instruct others now to act upon what 
he thought out. Thus, he was pressing his sister hard and 
ever harder, firing her with the depth and breadth of his 
outlook. There were long, grilling hours of discussion 
he trying to inculcate his principles, she giving him the bene 
fit of what her practical judgment, regardless of books, 
prompted her to do. 

Here are two loose notes among his many: 

" Please, please, know that I carry only general principles in 
my head, and do not carry details/ 



270 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"You must always allow me the latitude of a mind that is 
filled with a million other things that have nothing whatever to do 
with this ranch, so that when I query, I query honestly and sin 
cerely and without ulterior purpose, so that all I want is what I 
ask for, and I don t want guessed replies to what you guess are 
ulterior questions on my part. I ain t got no ulterior questions or 
motives, but, just once in a while, I have a legitimate, overwhelm 
ing desire to know what is, which what is has occurred during my 
periods of being away from ranch, of being immersed in problems 
which have nothing whatever to do with ranch, save that they 
enable me to keep ranch going. I make my living out of the world. 
I must 90% of my time devote myself to the world. Please, please, 
give me that 90% latitude of ignorance and of non-remembrance 
of the per cent, of ranch happenings that hit you every moment of 
every day and that hit me possibly once in six months. Meet me in 
at least a 9 to 1 percentage sympathy. " 

Discussion but infrequently took place between Jack 
and the workmen, for lie was fond of learning by argument. 
Little they could teach him. And so for the most part he 
kept from contact with them. " Eliza is the captain I have 
picked out to run this particular ship of mine," he would 
say to me, repository of his deductions upon each situation 
as it unfolded, "and you know how much I interfere be 
tween captain and man ! But there was often the irk of 
those who knew less than Jack, who tried to hold him back : 
* You can t make it work, Mr. London. We have never done 
it this way." 

"Why not?" lie would blaze. "Why can t I make it 
work? Do you think that I learn nothing from the greatest 
specialists in your profession, when I put in whole nights, 
month upon month, studying them? What do you know 
about government bulletins, government deductions based 
upon scientific principles that have been put to work?" 

I take the following from a transcript of evidence in 
the water-suit before referred to : 



THE BAD YEAR 271 

" Aren t you a good enough agriculturist to estimate an 
acre of ground?" was the question put by opposing counsel. 

"No," drawled Jack. "We all have our weaknesses. I 
never could master an acre, by looking at it. I always send 
somebody out to measure it for me. And to the question, 
i Have you ever acted as a farmer, practically tilling the soil 
yourself!" he explained as below: 

"I have never had my hands on the handles of a plow 
in my life, but I know more about plowing than any plow 
man who ever worked for me. I have acquired practically 
every bit of my knowledge from the books. I never was a 
graduate of an university ; I never finished the first half of 
my freshman year at a university; yet I have thought it 
nothing to face a group of thirty or forty professors ham- 
mer-and-tongs on philosophy, sociology, and all the other 
ologies the group including David Starr Jordan and 
others of the same high intellectual caliber. I was able to 
do that and hold a table of debate I, who had never been 
through a university because I had gotten my knowledge 
from the same books they had got their knowledge from. 
The same with plowing and other branches of farm knowl 
edge. I state that I am eminently fitted from my knowledge 
of the books." 

He went on: "My knowledge of agriculture and farm 
ing is also derived from actual contact with the soil look 
ing at it, on occasion hiring experts to come and tell me their 
diagnoses of these thick soils or bad soils or wrong soils. 
I find very often that they disagree with one another ; then 
I go back to my books arid find the right clue, applying 
it, making my experiments year after year, whether in 
fertilizer or in methods of cultivation or drainage or the 
thousand factors that enter into successful tillage." 

His aloof supervision was expressed in notes to be 
passed on. "But see that they are returned and preserved, 
so that I may refer to them at any time." 

From a sheaf I choose almost at random: 



272 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

" Watch out for the first unexpected rain catching lots of our 
equipment exposed. As for instance the wood-saw and engine. 
Months in the sun and fog and dew have not done them any good. 
A rain will do worse." 

"Who left half a dozen sacks of cement in rain to spoil under 
roofless section of rock-crusher house?" 

"Near rock-crusher is a shingled roof section, lying flat on the 
ground, going to hell. 

"In any new building operations around the ranch, such as 
the bath-house, etc., are the men who do the work told to keep the 
nails cleaned up? Because if they are so told, and continue to let 
the nails lie around, fire them. To-day it was King who was lamed ; 
some time ago it was one of the Shire mares. To-morrow it may be 
Neuadd. Is father to sit back and pay for the Veterinary, for 
the stallion man s time, for the crippled horse s time?" 

And first, last, and always, stood his creed: 
"What we do must be adequate and permanent/ 
His plaint to me, aside, when confronted with the 
obstinate wall of farmer-brains smaller than his own, was 
like this : 

i i The reason a man works for me, is because he cannot 
work for himself. Stupid boobs, most of them, who do not 
wake up to avail themselves of the fund of knowledge ready 
for the asking. In the matter of government reports, over 
and above the price of a postcard of inquiry, knowledge is 
as free as air. 

Out of his despair with the incapacity of employes, their 
unwillingness to be educated, he coined the phrase "Down 
the hill," which meant the discharge of those who could 
neither learn nor take orders. "The more I see of men," 
he would apostrophize, "the more I turn to the land; yet, 
in order to manipulate that land, I must deal with those 
very men who hurt me so with their blind ineffectiveness 
and lack of foresight. And they try to teach me, who spend 
my nights with the books. My work on this land, and my 
message to America, go hand in hand!" And he would 



THE BAD YEAR 273 

ride away, waving his cowboy quirt, bent upon appraising 
a worn-out plot of ground with the intention of reclaiming 
it. 

Of course, his experiment was being advertised far and 
wide by the press. He had, as one farm magazine de 
clared, 1 1 ideas on the profession of farming that will do the 
world more good than all the stories he ever could write. " 

"When I bought one hundred and twenty-nine acres 
near Glen Ellen nine years ago I knew nothing of farming, 
Jack gave out. "I bought the place mostly for its beauty, 
as a place to live and write in. 

" About forty acres was cleared and I tried to raise 
hay for my horses, but soon found I could scarcely get the 
seed back. The soil had been worn out ; it had been farmed 
for years by old-fashioned methods of taking everything 
off and putting nothing back. 

"The region was a back-water district. Most of the 
ranchers were poor and hopeless ; no one could make any 
money ranching there, they told me. They had worked the 
land out and their only hope was to move on somewhere else 
and start to work new land out and destroy its value. 

I began to study the problem, wondering why the fertil 
ity of this land had been destroyed in forty or fifty years 
when land in China has been tilled for thousands of years, 
and is still fertile. 

"My neighbors were typified by the man who said: 
"You can t teach me anything about farming; I ve worked 
three farms out ! Which is as wise as the remark of the wo 
man who said she guessed she knew all there was to know 
about raising children hadn t she buried five? 

"I adopted the policy of taking nothing off the ranch. 
I raised stuff and fed it to the stock. I got the first manure 
spreader ever seen up there, and so put the fertilizer back 
on the land before its strength had leaked out. I began to 
get registered stock, and now I sell a blooded cow at nine 
months for $40 and an old-fashioned rancher comes along 



274 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

and wonders why he has to feed a scrub cow for two years 
and sell her for less than $40. 

"An old-fashioned farmer has thirty milch cows and 
works eighteen hours a day taking care of them and milking 
them and can make no money. An up-to-date man comes 
along, buys the place, pays $10 for a Babcock tester and 
buys milk scales. Eight away he gets rid of ten of the cows 
as non-productive, and he makes more with two-thirds of 
the work." 

Jack s disappointment that so much of his main punch " 
in "The Valley of the Moon" had been lost by wholesale 
deletion, in serial publication, was mended by the way the 
published book was received by the agricultural maga 
zines. One of them declared that it "ought to be adopted 
for a text book by our back to the farm/ missionaries. 
Besides being a firstrate love-story, it is replete with knowl 
edge of rural conditions. "With that familiar universal 
touch of Jack London s, this book, while essentially Cali- 
f ornian, applies and appeals to America, at large. We won 
der that it has not been made a part of the curriculum at the 
agricultural colleges. It is worth dozens of lectures some 
times delivered to students." 

"Why isn t The Valley of the Moon the Great Ameri 
can Novel !" a correspondent wanted to know. "It lets 
light in upon the question of why the old American stock 
is dying out. The ignorant, unlettered foreigners, Italians, 
Japanese, Scandinavian, and the rest, crowd out the good 
old American, because the American will not, for one 
thing, if he can help it, live the way the foreigner does. 
And because, also, the American will not use his head for the 
improvement of the land. Eesult, the carcass of the good 
old superior American fertilizes his own land for the crowd 
ing, thrifty, crafty foreigner." 

That one man is more fit than another to become a law 
giver, Jack London has laid down in "The Bones of Kahe- 
kili," written five months before he died, one of seven 



THE BAD YEAR 275 

stories in "On the Makaloa Mat." The old Hawaiian com 
moner asks : 

"Here is something stronger than life, stronger than 
woman, but what is it and why?" And Jack, over and 
above his personal desire and sacrifices toward the masses, 
speaks his unwilling but inevitable conclusion through the 
mouth of Hardman Pool : 

"It is because most men are fools, and therefore must 
be taken care of by the few men who are wise. Such is the 
secret of chiefship. In all the world are chiefs over men. 
In all the world that has been have there ever been chiefs, 
who must say to the mary fool men: Do this; do not do 
that. Work, and work a/3 we tell you, or your bellies will 
remain empty and you will perish. . . . You must be peace- 
abiding and decent, and blow your noses. You must be early 
to bed of nights, and up early in the morning to work if 
you would have beds to sleep in and not roost in trees like 
the silly fowls. This is the reason for the yam-planting 
and you must plant now. We say now, to-day, and not pic 
nicking and hulaing to-day and yam-planting to-morrow 
or some other day of the many careless days. . . . All this 
is life for you, because you think but one day at a time, 
while we, your chiefs, think for you all days and far days 
ahead." 

And the old man : i i Yes, it is sad that I should be born 
a common man and live all my days a common man." 

To which Hardman Pool: "That is because you were 
of yourself common. When a man is born common, and is 
by nature uncommon, he rises up and overthrows the chiefs 
and makes himself chief over the chiefs. Why do you not 
run my ranch, with its many thousands of cattle, and shift 
the pastures by the rainfall, and pick the bulls, and arrange 
the bargaining and selling of the meat to the sailing ships 
and war vessels and the people who live in the Honolulu 
houses, and fight with lawyers, and help make laws, and 
even tell the King what is wise for him to do and what is 



276 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

dangerous? Why does not any man do this that I do? 
Any man of all the men who work for me, feed out of my 
hand, and let me do their thinking for them? me, who 
works harder than any of them, who eats no more than any 
of them, and who can sleep on no more than one lauhala mat 
at a time like any of them ? 

"I am out of the cloud . . ." the old man says. "We 
are the careless ones of the careless days who will not plant 
the yam in season if our alii does not compel us, who will not 
think one day for ourselves. . . . 

There were timely trips into the interior Sacramento, 
Modesto, and to the University of California stock farm at 
Davis. Eliza Shepard went along further to imbibe and 
abet the game her brother wanted to play; and Jack came 
speedily to accept her judgment in the selection of livestock, 
for her choices came to be the prize-winners at State and 
County fairs. 

A concrete-block silo, twelve feet in diameter, the first 
of two, and the first of their kind in California, was rising 
half a hundred feet into the air near the old cowbarns. Jack 
put his own and his neighbors corn into the first silo that 
was finished, and neglected his writing to take a hand in the 
fascinating work of feeding the cutter. Houseguests and 
servants alike were unable to keep out of the busy scene, 
and remained to help. Their host boasted : l No material 
comes up the hill except cement. My own machinery has 
done the crushing of the rock that my own tools and dyna 
mite have got out of my own land, and that my own draft 
animals have hauled. My own mixer has made the mortar. 
My ten-inch drain-tile for the alfalfa fields yonder, has been 
made right here on the ground. And all this paraphernalia 
will build a dam at the mouth of that natural sink up- 
mountain, to impound 7,000,000 gallons of water for irri 
gation. And think of the pressure for fire protection I 1 

The " piggery " which Jack invented, and which was 
built during our fall Roamer cruise, became famous the 



THE BAD YEAR 277 

world over, not only among farmers but with curious lay 
men as well. Entirely of rock and concrete, it is on a cir 
cular plan, surrounding, with graveled driveway between, 
a handsome tower wherein feed is mixed and distributed 
to the " suites " of apartments, with their individual run 
ways, that came to house, firstj the white Ohio Improved 
Chester hogs, and later, Jack s choice of what he deemed 
a sturdier breed for our climate, the red Duroc Jerseys. 
A system of flushing and antiseptizing both here and in 
the barns, rendered premises and vicinity " sweet as a 
nut," to quote an English visitor who lately registered in 
the tower guest-book. Crowning a knoll for perfect drain 
age, surrounded by blossomy madrono trees with bark like 
Korean red lacquer and glossy leaves so resembling the 
magnolia, this farm yard " sermon in stone " is an object 
of distinct beauty. 

Jack had conceived the idea of demonstrating that he 
could restore exhausted grainfields by a system of terracing 
on a large scale in his own words, * farming on the level. T 

"You increase the organic content by levelling, pre 
venting the destructive erosive effects that draw from it 
the organic content so that instead of one-tenth of one 
meager crop a year you can grow three rich crops a year. 

"The hillsides are first ploughed along contour lines, 
and at intervals, depending on the slope of the land, balks, 
or small ridges, are thrown up. The process is slow, but 
its advantages from the start are great. Eains are held 
back to sink into the soil instead of rushing down the hill 
sides, tearing out great gullies and carrying rich soil down 
the streams to the ocean. . . . We have been letting our 
rich hillsides go to waste, and by ignorant cultivation have 
increased erosion rather than prevented it. The method I 
have outlined will restore even impoverished hillsides and 
turn them into productive fields. 

A dozen acres of old French prune trees were brought 
up to standard ; vineyards, once famous, that had gone too 



278 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

long neglected, were uprooted and given over to barley; 
and the barley was planted with inoculated vetch. 

Beehives, likewise ducks, pigeons, geese, chickens, and 
a few pheasants, made their appearance on the Hill place 
as a side issue. 

I heard Jack say that the best blocks of vineyard did 
not have more than seventy-five per cent, of the vines stand 
ing when I took over the ranch. In some cases three out 
of every five vines were missing." But in time he had 
those "best blocks" yielding as formerly. 

And here are his intentions with regard to fertilizing: 

"The Chinese have farmed for forty centuries without 
using commercial fertilizer. I am rebuilding worn-out hill 
side lands that were worked out and destroyed by our 
wasteful California pioneer farmers. I am not using com 
mercial fertilizer. I believe the soil is our one indestructi 
ble asset, and by green manures, nitrogen-gathering cover 
crops, animal manures, rotation of crops, proper tillage 
and draining, I am getting results which the Chinese have 
demonstrated for forty centuries. 

"We are just beginning to farm in the United States. 
The Chinese knew the how but not the why. We know the 
why, but we re dreadfully slow getting around to the how." 

Before long this modern husbandman had revolutionized 
the sleepy neighborhood, to say nothing of his employes 
upon whom he sprung timesheets, rigorously insisting that 
these be properly filled in each night. "Any man who isn t 
willing to give an account of his work and time, is welcome 
to go down hill," was Jack s ultimatum. 

A blacksmith in the village went out of business. Jack 
relieved him of the entire establishment, which was in 
stalled in one of our cool winery buildings, pleasantly shaded 
by a "spreading chestnut tree," while a horseshoer and 
general blacksmith was added to the payroll. The village 
thought little about the transaction until a paper in a rival 
community came out with : 



THE BAD YEAR 279 

* Good boy, Jack ! Why not make another trip with your 
wagon and take the rest of Glen Ellen up to the ranch 1 

Then and always, when asked "What do you call your 
place ?" the owner replied, "The Ranch of Good Inten 
tions. Develop it as he might, it seemed to remain only in 
its merest beginning, in view of his ultimate hopes. 

An old neighbor, whose boundaries carve sharply into 
our property, often suggested that Jack buy him out, lock, 
stock, and barrel. "But there are too many buildings on 
your place, for one thing, " Jack would object. "It would 
cost too much to demolish them ! But once he said : " If I 
ever do buy the Wegener place, I ll turn it over, buildings 
and all, to my intellectual hobo friends. The community 
would wax, and oh, my ! " As he had written to Anna : 

"Some day I shall build an establishment, invite them 
all, and turn them loose upon one another. Such a mingling 
of castes and creeds and characters could not be duplicated. 
The destruction would be great !" 

It has always been a sadness to me how, as before 
hinted, Jack s most intimate acquaintances, given every op 
portunity to view the magnitude of his interest in agricul 
ture, without exception discounted the importance of it to 
him, and vice versa. In all the memorial gatherings met so 
generously after his passing, it never entered the mind of 
a single friend to whom Jack had expounded his dear am 
bition, to make mention of the great book he had begun to 
write upon the mountain fields. I, aghast at the vital omis 
sion, protested, and appealed to the lovers of his memory 
not to forget. The explanation dawned upon me before 
ever it was put in ^ords by one, a sociologist, who had no 
inkling of the bearing of agronomy upon economics : 

"You see, Jack s agriculture did not impress me as it 
should have done probably because I have no interest in 
agriculture. 

In September we made our first visit to the State Fair 
at Sacramento. Jack was averse to showing his own stock, 



280 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

holding that putting an animal in l show condition was a 
harmful process. His presence at the Fair was for the pur 
pose of getting in touch with "the other fellow" to see 
what he was doing in the matter of raising draft horses, 
beef cattle and hogs. 

It was during this absence Jack told me that at intervals 
for months past he had had warning flutters in the region of 
the heart that gave him sudden moments of foreboding. 
" Haven t you noticed that I have got into the habit of 
laying my palm over my heart!" he asked. "I didn t real 
ize I was, until I happened to catch myself at it." He also 
told me that there had been no report, after an examination 
by their physician, from a certain life insurance firm to 
whom he had applied some time back for an additional 
policy. I, to offset the tremor of my own heart at his in 
telligence, eliminated one reason after another for his con 
dition, and finally asked if it might be laid to his excessive 
cigarette inhaling. But he did not take to the diagnosis. 
After a couple of years the symptoms disappeared. 

In mid-October we "joy-sailed on the good, old, dear, 
and forever dear Roomer," to quote her skipper, spending 
one of our most care-free seasons, with the resilience that 
fortunate souls exhibit after an excess of work and emo 
tional endurance. From my diary: "Let s look at the 
chart we ve sailed off," says Jack at two p. m., after our 
exciting run in a howling norther. Things broke; we 
missed stays twice on one tack, and went aground in the 
glistening tules, that were laid flat by the wind. Spouting 
surf on lee shores. A big scow aground. Ducks flying low. 
Sierras white with snow, and Mt. Diablo and its range clear- 
cut sapphire. We did not have a ribbon of canvas on the 
Roomer except three-reefed spanker and our dandy jib. 
She eats right up into the wind with that big jib. 

In spite of all that has happened this year, Jack re 
viewed, surveying water and sky with calm, sure eyes, 
"somehow it seems now as if it has been one of my hap- 



THE BAD YEAR 281 

piest at least, when I think what I have started on the 
Beauty Eanch ! At any rate, he finished, pulling the old 
Tarn over his fore-top, " there has been no boredom in it 
all no danger of rusting/ 

One morning in the midst of his work he burst out : 

" I m going to live a hundred years ! 

"Yes! Why!" 

* Because I want to ! " 

"It s a good reason couldn t be bettered. But let me 
remind you that you re likely to become a widower!" 

That is a consideration, reaching for me. " I ll have 
to think it over!" 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

NEW YORK ; MEXICO ; ROAMER 
1914 

FOR us, ending one year and beginning another aboard 
ship was the acme of good fortune. The holidays, 
spent partly ashore while the cook remained to guard the 
Roomer where she lay moored to one city wharf or another, 
were full of cheer. The "Porchclimber" episode settled, 
our future looked brighter, though Jack remarked more 
than once: "I m riding to a fall, financially; but I m not 
worrying you ve never yet seen me stay down long. I ll 
work harder than ever!" 

Our New Year was ushered in at the Saddle Rock restau 
rant. Two nights before Christmas, with a big southeaster 
blowing, Jack and Nakata got me into an evening gown 
aboard the yacht where she rolled at Lombard Street wharf 
in San Francisco, then rowed me to a float, from which we 
mounted to water-front street and taxi, to attend the house- 
warming of friends uptown. In the early hours we were 
back, and casting off, on the way to Sausalito. A terrific 
ebb was running, and Jack breathed a sigh of relief when he 
had his vessel safely clear of the docks and speeding on 
the ebb, before the gale, under a little shred of a reefed jig 
ger. When, not far from Sausalito, we ran into the great 
run-out that tears down through Raccoon Straits to the 
Golden Gate, it seemed as if the tiny yawl could not possibly 
make it across. Jack, in his most congenial element, was on 
the pinnacle of exhilaration. And in fifty-five minutes the 
thirty-foot craft, under that rag of canvas, had made a 

282 



NEW YORK; MEXICO; ROAMER 283 

passage that regularly takes the huge screw-ferryboats 
thirty-five. 

Threading his way among the tossing sloops and 
schooners and motor boats at anchor off the yacht clubs 
at Sausalito, Jack navigated over the mud flats, well on the 
way into Mill Valley, where in the falling tide he laid the 
Roamer in the mud and went to sleep for the afternoon, 
upon his lips the contented murmur, "This is the Life! 
WeVe got all others skinned to death, Mate!" The next 
day, Christmas, Nakata rowed us to a railroad station on 
the shore, and we dined with friends in Mill Valley. And on 
the 26th we were cruising once more. 

While lying off Point Eichmond, Jack developed an ear 
ache, and with bandaged head called upon a doctor. In no 
time the dailies came out with an exciting story of how, in 
a blow, Jack London had been knocked senseless by the 
mainboom, while his wife bravely and cleverly brought the 
vessel to safe anchorage! Jack was aggrieved out of all 
apparent proportion to the matter; but the reason was that 
he so especially prided himself upon never having unsea- 
rnanlike accidents. 

He became interested in Richmond real estate to the 
extent of buying a lot, thereby branding himself as a 
" booster " for the new harbor subdivision of the Ellis 
Landing and Dock Company. 

Just as we began congratulating ourselves that certain 
hindrances had been overridden, and upon the general out 
look for the New Year, fresh trouble broke that necessitated 
Jack s jumping out for New York within twenty-four hours, 
leaving the yacht at San Rafael, where the ill news had 
found us looking over ground familiar to our childhood. 
There was much I must attend to at home owing to the 
suddenness of his departure, and so our first long separa 
tion took place. 

"While I m straightening out this snarl, I can be look 
ing into other details that need attention, such as advances 



284 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

from the publishers, " Jack reminded me. "I ll be having 
good news for you soon, I hope." He often arranged for 
advances, either in bulk, or in monthly payments, upon con 
templated work. 

The "snarl/ 7 which took him over a month to smooth 
out, was with reference to dramatic rights in one of his 
novels. An old friend had held these rights for some years 
without having made a successful showing. Moving pic 
tures had never been considered in the days Jack had signed 
contracts for speaking performances, and there were men 
who tried to befog the issue; hence it behooved Jack, now 
interested in cinema productions, to clear his way of mis 
understanding. 

But his friend had entered into a dramatic contract for 
a production of the novel in question, and borrowed money 
against future box office receipts, which later did not appear 
to be imminent. The agent was willing to release the play 
wright, but to the tune of forty thousand dollars. Jack, 
appalled by the ridiculous sum, bent all his powers to beat 
down the robber. It took him four weeks, and in the end 
he resorted to what he called his "play acting " to bring 
about the signing of a "decent" release of the rights. 
Early in the combat, I would have this sort of message: 
"Outlook dark," or "Situation ticklish," or "Nothing good 
to write." But his old unnatural condition when in New 
York seemed to be absent. 

"To hell with New York," he wrote in the midst of this 
and other difficulties that beset. "I am here to master this 
Babylon and its sad cave-dwellers, not to be mastered!" 

Later: "Hereafter, either before or after Roamer 
winter trip, my impression is that you and I will spend a 
month in New York. 

One night in a triple collision of taxicabs, he came near 
losing his life. A certain manager of burlesque had taken 
him to the playhouse, and afterward introduced him to 
the leading lights, three of whom the two men undertook 



NEW YORK; MEXICO; ROAMER 285 

to escort to their homes. When the cars crashed Jack found 
himself at the bottom of the heap of kindling-wood that had 
been his cab, his mouth full of glass, and with a sense 
of suffocation, since the other four passengers con 
tributed to the weight. Aside from minor cuts and bruises, 
the party escaped uninjured, and in some way avoided re 
vealing their identity, so that the newspaper clippings Jack 
sent lacked all names. The theatrical man longed to have 
the event featured with " scare-head " lines, for the adver 
tisement of his star, but Jack would have none of it. 

"I d have looked well," he grumbled to me, "with the 
report flashed all over the country that I d been * joy-riding 

with a bunch af actresses ! I ve never been joy-riding in 

my life, he teased ; but I m going some time, for I 11 never 
be satisfied until I come home to you with a pink-satin 
slipper in my pocket!" 

Whatever else Jack London did or did not do in New 
York City, he always spent much time upon the theatres. 
About this time he enthusiastically applauded the idea of 
the Little Theatre, and hoped that San Francisco would 
take up the idea. Some time before the breaking of the 
Great War, friends were promulgating a widely ramified 
plan for a new opera house and conservatory in San Fran 
cisco, and Jack made regular contributions to the pro 
moters. So far, nothing has come of it. 

Having succeeded in obtaining a "decent" release of the 
dramatic rights in his book, and made some very satisfac 
tory agreements for New York, he wired: "General future 
never looked brighter." 

A word as to the "play-acting" which caused the "rob 
ber" to throw up his hands, or, rather put his hand to 
the signing of the "decent release." Jack, partly as a 
whim, partly in order to compose undisturbed, had hidden 
himself in a notorious hostelry of the "theatrical tender 
loin." When he had telephoned to his publisher to send his 
money, that person cried out, "Great Scott, man! What 



286 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

are you doing in a house like that! I ll have to bring it my 
self I" 

Jack decided to inveigle the enemy into his room. He en 
deavored to turn the tables, but Jack, pleading indisposi 
tion, also that he was too rushed to come out, since he 
must leave for California sooner than he had planned, con 
trived to gain the other s consent to call at an early fore 
noon hour. He then prepared the stage and made up for 
the impish part he intended to play: 

"You should have seen me," he giggled, "I was a 
sight to throw the fear of God into any highwayman of his 
feather. I had sized him up, you see. 

"For two days I purposely let my beard grow, and you 
know how black it comes out. I opened my pa jama-coat so 
that the mat of hair showed on my chest. And of course I 
left out my upper teeth, mussed up my head and wore an 
eyeshade. I was not pretty. 

"So, when the clerk phoned up that he was below, I 
said, Send him right up. He answered, he s stepped 
outside. Outside, says I, what f or ? I don t know he 
said he d wait for you there. Tell him, I ordered, That 
I m in bed, and can t come down. 

"Well, when his tap came, I sat up in bed, and the high- 
arm chair I had placed for him had its back to the door so 
that if he tried to escape me he d be in an awkward posi 
tion getting out of his chair to do it. It sounds awful, 

I can see from your face, Mate, Jack interpolated. i But 
remember, I had wrestled for weeks with him. He had even 
agreed to my figures and terms, and promised to send me 
the release, and then I would wait for days without a word, 
marking time, when I wanted to go home. It was my sheer 
whimsey to bring him to his senses in this fantastic way. My 
God ! It was ten thousand times more legitimate than his 
slimy methods and those of his kind ! 

"To get back. He came in, trying not to look queer 
when he saw the object I was haggard from the dark 



NEW YORK; MEXICO; ROAMER 287 

growth on my chin and neck, hair showing on my chest, and 
a ghastly toothless smile of welcome! In his hand was 
the document, which I took from him and glanced over. 
And every little while I looked aside to one or the other of 
my fists, as if gloating over them. As I talked with him 
without appearing to study him I took in his sick, scared 
face and soul. He d have given anything not to have got 
himself into that chair. 

11 And then, I went over the whole business again, all we 
had talked in our many interviews, and he finally consented 
to release for a tithe of his original claims. He said : 

" 1 1 11 go right to my office to make the change, and send 
you the agreement immediately. 

"I had waited for just that, and didn t mean that he 
should elude me again. Said I : 

" You ll sign that paper right here on that table, before 
you leave this room! and when he protested, I went on, 
closing and unclosing my fists, to tell him just exactly what 
I would do to him if he refused. He looked this way and 
that, at the telephone, and half around at the door, and 
knew his situation for precisely what I had made it. He 
signed the release and left it with me. . . . And as it is, 
it will take me months to pay him, month by month. 

A little ill news greeted Jack s return the best young 
shorthorn bull had broken his neck, and hog cholera had 
carried off nearly all his blooded hogs. 

"I always seem to have to build twice everything I 
undertake," Jack said thoughtfully. 

In his workroom again, The Little Lady of the Big 
House was begun, in which were exploited his maturing con 
cepts on farming and stockbreeding. Many readers take for 
granted that the "Big House" was copied from Jack s Wolf 
House. As a matter of fact, a picture of Mrs. Phoebe A. 
Hearst s home at Pleasanton, California, was roughly the 



288 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

model for that of his hero and heroine on an imaginary 
ranch in the interior foothills. 

Margaret Smith Cobb, a poet of the northern California 
forest country, whose verse Jack had been the means of 
placing with eastern magazines, sent me the fragmentary 
thoughts given below. Jack, to whom I forwarded them, 
commented: "The poem is most sweet, most beautiful, 
most true. Tell Margaret Cobb the same, for me. I care 
not to utter another word on that sad topic." 

"Love, let us wander, you and I, 

Where but charred embers and pale ashes lie ; 

Here where my dreams and fancies took still shape, 

In all their glory, laid in wood and stone. 

****** 

Here, blow thy kisses, many, for a stair, 

That we may rise where was thy line of rooms 

Booms for thyself alone we had them thus, 
Where none might enter but the moon and I. 

Dear love, the smoke is yet about my heart, 
The crackle of the fire yet sears my brain. 
You will be kind, and dream and care no more, 
Nor sorrow for what was my house of dreams. 

About this time it was rumored that the Prohibitionists 
wanted to nominate Jack London for President. He, when 
asked about it, gave his usual breezy consent : * i Sure I 11 
run for anything, if it will help, especially if there s no 
chance of my being elected!" 

A grapejuice company was formed for the manufacture, 
on a large scale, of the incomparable unf ermented drink that 
we were already pressing, from wine grapes, for our own 
table. Jack was elated over the prospect. It created a new 
market for his ranch product, and by the same effort fur 
thered the cause of prohibition. He drank regularly of the 




11)15. AT WAIKIKI, HONOLULU 




1913. ABOARD THE "ROAMER" 



NEW YORK; MEXICO; ROAMER 289 

clear, natural juice that bore so little resemblance to the 
commercial article that smacks of stewed fruit. 

"Government recipe, my dear, government recipe !" he 
would gurgle, holding his little glass to the light. "Free 
advice to every one and they wonder how I find out these 
things I" 

There was crookedness in the grapejuice company, 
as there had been in the past year s ventures. Jack, who 
had no money in this, only his name, was ultimately sued for 
$41,000 ; but the case never came to trial. 

With travel in his eye, Jack had been plotting to con 
vince an eastern weekly of the value of a series of articles 
on all the world, and there was talk of having him begin with 
Japan. I was joyous at the prospect of realizing our old 
hope to visit those fascinating isles together. But the 
Mexican fracas in the spring of 1914 came in between and 
the other articles never were undertaken. Hearst had 
asked Jack the preceding autumn if he would go to Mexico 
in case trouble broke. When the time came, there was 
some disagreement upon the price, and Jack went for 
Collier s instead. This constituted no infringement of his 
fiction contract, so long as he delivered the appointed meas 
ure of the fiction. 

"And now, " he said, hopefully, "I may be able to redeem 
myself as a war correspondent, after what I was held back 
from doing by the Japanese Army! 

If he had been able to foretell how slim was the chance of 
attaining his wish, he would not have gone. As it was, 
Collier s wired to know how long it would take him to make 
ready to start for Galveston, Texas, should they telegraph 
him to go. Twenty-four hours, was the response. Came 
the bombardment of the Naval Academy at Vera Cruz, 
and on April 16 the summons arrived. We left Glen Ellen 
the next morning, and Oakland the same afternoon. 

"I ll see you on your way as far as Galveston," ventured 



290 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

I, taking for granted that Galveston would be the end of my 
journey. 

"You can t get ready in time!" Jack said, but with a 
bright expectancy that was balm to my apprehension, for I 
had not been enthusiastic about his going under fire. 

"Oh, can t II" and out came the trunks. 

"Well," he paused from his own preparations to glad 
den my heart, "if you get that far, maybe we can get you to 
Vera Cruz at least even if you have to stay there when we 
go on march to the City of Mexico. 

Shortly before leaving, Jack handed me a copy of * The 
Valley of the Moon," inscribed : 

"Dear My- Woman: 

"This is our Book of Love, here in our * Valley of the Moon, 
where we have lived and known our love ever since that day you 
rode with me to the divide of the Napa hills Ay, and before that, 
before that." 

It was at Galveston that Richard Harding Davis in 
the second instance rendered Jack London a service. Sev 
eral days had passed, the date of departure with General 
Frederick Funston was nearing, and all the other corre 
spondents who were to accompany him on the transport 
Kilpatrick had received their credentials from Washington 
and were gaily making ready. Jack s alone seemed to be 
withheld, for Edgar Sisson, editor of Collier s, kept wiring 
Jack to the effect that he was not to worry everything 
would reach him in time. 

On the morning of the transports sailing-date, I was 
shocked from sleep and upon my feet by a burst of martial 
music that led a host of men in olive-drab who marched, 
with brave, ominous sound, along the sea-wall drive. Jack 
joined me at the window and silently we watched the stream 
of human life go down to the gulf in ships. Although thrill 
ing to the spectacle, Jack could not forget, and quoted from 
Le Gallienne s "The Illusion of War": 



NEW YORK; MEXICO; ROAMER 291 

" War, 

I abhor, 

And yet how sweet 

The sound along the marching street 

Of drum and fife, and I forget 

Wet eyes of widows, and forget 

Broken old mothers, and the whole 

Dark butchery without a soul. " 

As the morning wore, and still no word from Washing 
ton, we became genuinely concerned. Before others, Jack 
preserved a careless demeanor; but when he looked into my 
eyes I saw in his the baffled, pained expression that he must 
have worn in childhood. 

"I can t understand it, I can t understand it," he 
puzzled. "Each time Pve called on General Funston, his 
aide has courteously put me off. I know the General is not 
well, with that abscess in his ear, poor devil ; but that isn t 
the reason. So there seems to be simply nothing I can do. 

"I don t care for myself, " he would reiterate. "I 
want to make good to Sisson, whose idea it was for me to 
go for Collier s. I don t want to throw him down." Pres 
ently, having dictated to me his final letters, and sent off his 
Article I to Collier s, he disappeared downstairs, mur 
muring : 

" And even my peace-abiding feet 
Go marching down the marching street, 
For yonder, yonder goes the fife, 
And what care I for human life ! 

And yet tis all unbannered lies, 

A dream those little drummers make. J 

An hour passed, and I thought to reconnoitre in the 
lobby. Emerging from the elevator, my heart leaped to see 
Jack and the General s aide, Lieutenant Ball, each grasping 



292 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

the other by both hands, and laughing like schoolboys too 
pleased for words. 

"Why, Mate," Jack explained as we hurried upstairs to 
put the last touches to his packing, "it s all up to Richard 
Harding Davis. He came to me and said he wondered if I 
knew what was going on. You remember that so-called 
Good Soldier canard that was attributed to me? It has 
turned up again. As soon as Davis mentioned it, I could see 
the whole trouble in a flash. We looked up Lieutenant Ball, 
and well, you saw us when you came down. Funny how 
pleased he was to get the thing cleared up!" 

At luncheon, our table was near that of the General. He 
and his aide were consulting earnestly ; and after a while the 
Lieutenant came toward us. Jack rose, and the two re 
turned to the General. 

I gave him my word of honor that I did not write a line 
of that canard, Jack reported to me, * and upon that word 
he takes the responsibility of adding me to his already filled 
quota of correspondents. It seems that he had had word 
from Washington that my going was left up to him, but he, 
personally, was up in arms about the canard." 

Next, a telegram came from Secretary Josephus Daniels 
that if Jack could not be accommodated on the transport, 
he should go on one of the convoying destroyers. "And 
that would be an experience new to me, too," Jack exulted. 
But a place was shaken down on the Kilpatrick, on which he 
sailed Friday afternoon. Any regrets that I may have 
felt at my inability to accompany him were tempered by 
the fact that I expected to depart twenty-four hours later, 
and to meet him on the very date of his arrival in Vera 
Cruz. This was made possible by our good friend Mr. 
Robert T. Burge, who had proffered me passage on a 
vessel of the Gulf Coast Steamship Company, of which he 
was President. 

"I m only too glad to present you with a ticket," he 
smiled, "but for goodness sake, don t go. The steamers 



NEW YORK; MEXICO; ROAMER 293 

are not suitable for ladies travel. . . . But go if you really 
must!" 

Never shall I forget that evening the little old Atlantis 
(wrecked the next voyage) approached Vera Cruz. Across 
the mighty slopes of the storied land, Orizaba towered blue 
against a sunset sky ; and to the south were raised the tur 
rets of the "far-flung battle line" of our own Navy, its 
smoke mingling with the low tropic clouds. " War, I abhor, 
and yet " that has nothing to do, per se, with just valua 
tion of the magnificent machinery invented by brain of 
man. One of Jack s Mexican articles, in want of real war 
news, was devoted to what he saw at Tampico s oil-fields. 
Certain radical contemporaries raged against him, and one, 
a noted socialist writer, accused him publicly of having been 
subsidized by the oil interests subsidized ! Jack London ! 
None but a stupid, or at best a warped creature, it would 
seem to those who knew him, could seriously conceive such 
a thing. 

"Me! subsidized f" Jack stormed, "My worst capital 
ist enemies have done me the honor to know better than that. 
Why, no human being has ever dared even to hint sub^idi- 
zation to me, thank God!" 

Here again, friend and enemy were like to convict him 
of paradox. Few could comprehend that universality which 
made him grasp the whole through all its parts. WTiile de 
crying war, he could at the same time appreciate the roman 
tic majesty of conquest, hail the bunting of great armadas, 
respect the courage and deeds of men who battled according 
to their lights. I have seen him almost weep over the ex 
ploits of British admirals and fearless midshipmen of old. 
"Look!" he would cry, following me with a dusty tome 
in his hands, "Listen to this, and this . . . this is the sort 
of stuff that went into the making of you, white woman, and 
me, and all of us who conquer ourselves and our environ 
ment ! " In order to preserve a clear view of Jack, it must 
be held in mind that despite the warm human emotionalism 



294 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

of him he always came to rest upon his intellectual concep 
tions. 

Achievement, to him, was achievement, though he 
saw all around and under it. "I take off my hat to it," he 
would say, whether inspecting the Culebra Cut, or the Har 
bor of Pago Pago, or the oil fields of Tampico, or the bene 
ficial organization thrown into Vera Cruz by the army 
and navy. "If only the whole world could be made so clean 
and orderly," he said. "If such cleanliness and order could 
emanate, not from the idea of militarism, but as a social 
achievement. Let us not wantonly destroy these wonderful 
machines, these great world assets, that produce efficiently 
and cheaply. Let us control them. Let us profit by their 
efficiency and cheapness." 

Upton Sinclair, commending upon Jack s detractors, 
made no mistake : 

"He wrote a series of articles that caused certain radi 
cals to turn from him in rage. But I felt certain that the 
exponent of capitalist efficiency who counted upon Jack 
London s backing was a child playing in a dynamite fac 
tory. ... If a naval officer took him over a battleship, he 
would perceive that it was a marvelous and thrilling ma 
chine ; but let the naval officer not forget that in the quiet 
hours of the night Jack London s mind would turn to the 
white-faced stokers, to whom as a guest of an officer he had 
not been introduced ! 

While decrying war, in time of danger Jack said: 
"Although I am a man of peace, I carry an automatic 
pistol. I might meet somebody who would not listen to my 
protestations of friendship and amity. And so with nations 
we re a long way from universal disarmament. The most 
peaceful nation to-day is likely to run up against some other 
nation that does riot want peace. It would look as if we shall 
need armies for a weary while to come, to enforce the idea 
of peace." 

He appeared to be surprised at the personnel of the 



NEW YORK; MEXICO; ROAMER 295 

army and its officers. I must confess that my own 
general idea of the hard-bitten "regular" underwent a 
revelation. The rank and file were of a youthful and mostly 
blond Anglo-Saxon type. I noticed also that Jack was 
pleased to find many of the officers of both army and navy 
less "machinely crammed" than he had thought, quite able 
to stand on their own feet when it came to up-to-date, inde 
pendent thinking. Jack held that the world would have 
no more big wars for a long time. "There will be wars, 
at one time or another," he believed. "You can t change 
man entirely from the primitive, fighting animal he is. But 
I do not think we of to-day shall see a big war. The nations 
are enlightened enough to stop short of that, and arbitrate 
their differences." I borrow this from The Human Drift: 

"War is passing. It is safer to be a soldier than a workingman. 
The chance for life is greater in an active campaign than in a 
factory or a coal mine. In the matter of killing war is growing im 
potent, and this in the face of the fact that the machinery of war 
was never so expensive in the past nor so dreadful. . . . War has 
become a joke. Men have made for themselves monsters of battle 
which they cannot face in battle. Not only has war, by its own 
evolution, rendered itself futile, but man himself, with greater wis 
dom and higher ethics, is opposed to war." 

But his uniformed acquaintances, sitting in the portales 
of the old Diligencias Hotel, sipping Bacardi rum cocktails, 
disagreed : 

"Germany will start something before a great while 
see if she doesn t. And she s dying to get her hands on the 
United States." 

For once, Jack was a poor prophet. 

Aside from his old associates of Jap-Russ memories 
E. H. Davis, "Jimmy" Hare, "Bobbie" Dunn, Frederick 
Palmer there were present in Vera Cruz the veteran war 
artist, Zogbaum, and Eeuterdhal, who incidentally made a 
Collier" cover from a sketch of Jack; J. B. Connolly, whom 



296 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

we had met in Boston; Burge McFall (Associated Press) ; 
John T. McCutcheon ; Arthur Ruhl, Vincent Starrett, Stan- 
ton Leeds, Oliver Madox Hueffer from London, and Mrs. 
Dean, the " Widow " of the New York Town Topics. And 
from Mexico City, Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Murray, representing 
the New York World. There were others, whose names 
escape me. 

Jack was not the only correspondent who chafed under 
the restraint imposed upon the army in Mexico ; nor did the 
six weeks in that country strengthen his already weak 
regard for the Latin American. When the report came 
that Huerta had slipped out of Puerta Mexico to the south, 
the whole force was personally in mutinous humor with 
sitting inactive. Several of the newspapermen broke parole 
and made their precarious way to the capital, where some of 
them landed in prison. Jack had declined to go, saying he 
did not feel it was fair to General Funston. But later on 
he mitigated the control he had put upon himself, and 
sailed on the Mexicana for Tampico, the round-trip cover 
ing a week. He would not hear of my going to share any 
possible nip-and-tuck hazard. Realizing that I would be 
in his way, I did not urge, but remained, with Nakata, at 
the hotel. Jack charged me, in case orders should come 
for the army to march for Mexico City, to buy him a horse, 
and have all in readiness for him to go when he should 
jump back from Tampico. He also had me wait upon the 
good General, to discover if Nakata, being Japanese, might 
go along in such event. This the General did not think 
advisable; so I kept alert for some other man. 

"If there is any advice you need, Mate," Jack adjured 
me, "any help at any time, apply to Richard Harding 
Davis. " Which clinched what he thought of the "white 
man" who had so staunchly declined to see a brother cor 
respondent labor under disadvantage. Davis died shortly 
before Jack; and six days before Jack s death, I heard him 
deliver an impassioned encomium on Davis as a man. 



NEW YORK; MEXICO; ROAMER 297 

There being no military action about which to write, 
Jack employed himself turning out articles upon general 
observations and conditions as he saw them. For recrea 
tion, there were horseback rides and drives within the pro 
scribed radius ; swims at Los Banos ; dinners and luncheons 
aboard the fleet or with the officers of army and navy 
ashore ; shopping for laces, Mexican blankets, serapes and 
opals; visits to the little provost court where the natives 
gaped at a kindly dispensation of justice beyond all their 
conception; dancing in patios along the portales of the 
hotels; bull fights General Funston watched these care 
fully, and allowed no horses in the ring. Aboard the 
Solace, the hospital ship, we found the wounded boys read 
ing J. B. Connolly and Jack London, and forgetful of suffer 
ing in their pleasure at meeting the authors. 

Those broken boys were forerunners of the thousands 
from all classes, one in pain and purpose, for whom in the 
hospitals of Europe Jack was to fill so many needs. " There, 
in hospital/ wrote one, "I read Burning Daylight . . . 
then the doctor sent me to Blighty. There I left Burning 
Daylight in the midst of volumes neat and clean and new, 
damp-stained and broken-backed, I left it . . ." And from 
our friend Major Harry Strange, at the Front: "I always 
knew somewhat, and Jack taught me more, and war has 
quite convinced me, that the only happiness and joy worth 
while is in service, good, big, noble, brave-hearted service. 7 
The Tommies called Jack s books the Jacklondons ; and 
one of them, a hot-hearted young Celt, wrote me from Dub 
lin: "I only know that the man who comprehends as he 
did is always right, and that every one else is wrong." 
Which voices my own conviction. Again I listen to Jack s 
appeal: "Be patient with me in the little things; I am 
really patient in the big ones I have not winced nor cried 
aloud." And whereas he might be hasty in little things 
and little judgments, upon the big issues of mankind and of 



298 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

his own affairs in relation to mankind, he laid a divining 
finger that could not touch other than wisely and rightly. 

There were visits to San Juan de Ulua, with its spew 
of filthy, dehumanized prisoners, whom, with their unthink 
able dungeons, our navy cleansed and deodorized. Some of 
these unfortunates had no faintest notion as to what, if 
any, offense had condemned them to that living burial below 
sea level. Others recited haltingly the most trivial of inci 
dents that had doomed them to exist for years without 
standing-room or light. 

"Pretty awful, isn t it?- - But don t forget, Mate," 
Jack, who never forgot anything, would point out, "that we 
ourselves aren t half-civilized yet, in our treatment of con 
victs. Also, there s such a thing as railroad still existing 
in the land of the free ! " 

All this time, busy working and playing in Vera Cruz, 
waiting while Washington held the army and navy bound 
in port, Jack, according to rumor in the capitalist press 
of the United States, was leading a band of insurrectos 
somewhere in the north of Mexico ! Rumor, did I say? The 
large headlines read: 

JACK LONDON LEADS ARMY OF MEXICO REBELS. 

That some one was making use of his name, however, 
seems probable ; for later on we heard of persons who had 
met "Jack London" in Mexico and in Lower California. 
And an American firm dealing in artist s materials, waited 
for years for this or another spurious Jack London in 
Mexico to settle his account. 

Whether Jack gathered the bacilli in Tampico, or 
whether General Maas blockade that prevented the ingress 
of fresh food to the occupied town of Vera Cruz, combined 
with the hotel s filthy kitchen, was responsible, we shall 
never know. But on May 30, the day set for him to go up 
in an army aeroplane, instead he went to bed in our lately 



NEW YORK; MEXICO; ROAMER 299 

bullet-riddled room, with acute bacillary dysentery. Na- 
kata and I took charge of the nursing, under the resident 
American physician, Dr. A. E. Goodman, in consultation 
with Major Williams. The latter wanted him to go into 
army hospital, but Jack seemed to prefer a woman nurse, 
being myself. Thereafter, every spoonful of water that 
passed his lips or was used in nursing, was first thoroughly 
boiled in our room by means of electric appliances, "Thanks 
to American efficiency, " he groaned from his bed; and his 
food we cooked by the same process. 

It was a desperate, cautious campaign against death, but 
as usual the patient managed by his uncommon recupera 
tive powers to make a spectacular recovery. After a few 
days he insisted that I take the air with our friends, and 
upon my accepting dinner invitations in the portales be 
low. "And be sure you don t stint yourself at the lace 
shops!" he would call after, with indulgent eyes. Or he 
would turn to greet a decayed Spanish gentleman who tip 
toed in, who must part with certain ornaments of coral and 
ancient gold filigree : 

"Do you like it, Mate?" he would finger a bracelet or 
rosary. "If you do, say the word. A woman must have 
some loot of war, even if her husband has to buy it!" 

Nine days after he was stricken, and with pleurisy to 
boot, he was able to go aboard the cattle transport Ossabaw, 
bound for Galveston. "If anything breaks in Vera Cruz, 
which I don t think likely, I can return, he said. i Mean 
time, me for the Ranch, where I can have white-man s cli 
mate and grub!" 

"Do you know what are in the long boxes where those 
soldiers are sitting to play cards?" Jack pointed down to 
the main deck. And before I could gasp a reply, he finished : 

"Those fellows were dead in four days of what I pulled 
through." 

About this time occurred the riots in the hopfields at 
Wheatland, California, resulting from shocking conditions 



300 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

and treatment, and for once the high-handed methods of 
certain detectives had roused the ire of the public. Jack s 
opinion concerning this u death hole" was sought indeed, 
looking over his clipping-books, I notice how frequently he 
was asked for his opinion upon widely variant subjects. I 
quote : 

"The sheriff fired a shot in the air, and then, presto! it all 
happened at once. As a matter of fact, nobody knows what hap 
pened. I am willing to bet that if every one of these witnesses 
went before God Almighty and told, to the best of his recollection, 
no two would agree. It was the well-known crowd psychology on 
the job. 

"These men were not organized. There was only one amongst 
the 2300 of them who held an I. W. W. card. They did not need 
organization. They had seen the cost of living soar and soar, their 
purchasing power grow less and less ; they had all felt within them 
selves, Something must be done. Above all, they have had force 
preached into them, pounded into them, from the beginning by 
whom? The employers. 

"The employers have always ruled the working class with 
force. One incident happened that is strangely typical. One of 
the Durst Brothers struck one of the leading workmen in the face. 
He said he did it facetiously. Maybe he did; it isn t likely. 
But, facetious or not, that blow symbolized the whole relation be 
tween employer and employee. Where they do not actually strike 
blows, it is because they fear the blows will be struck back. 

"Now, Sheriff Voss and District Attorney Manwell came on 
the scene not at all in the interest of equity, but in the interest of 
the employer. They were not there to see fair play; they were 
there to keep order/ The sheriff expected his shot in the air to 
cow them. 

"Why didn t they cow? Simply because they are becoming 
more and more imbued with the belief that force is the only way. 
I look back over history and see that never has the ruling class 
relinquished a single one of its privileges except it was forced to. 

"It is always the things we fight for, bleed for, that we care 
most for. This lesson of force is soaking into the workers that s 
all." 



NEW YORK; MEXICO; ROAMER 301 

Another question upon which Jack s views were solicited 
was as follows : A grown man in the State of Illinois took 
advantage of a young girl, and was sentenced to thirty 
years in the penitentiary. A child being born, the young 
mother started a movement to free its father so that he 
might marry her for the sake of the child. Jack s answer to 
the Newspaper Enterprise Association is below: 

"The world and civilization belong to the races that practice 
monogamy. Monogamy is set squarely against promiscuity. 
Wherefore monogamy, as the cornerstone of the state, demands a 
legal father for Vallie. Also the father and the mother of Vallie de 
sire to make their parenthood legal. Therefore the only logical 
thing for the state of Illinois to do is to make possible this legaliza 
tion of Vallie s birth and parentage. Otherwise the State of Illin 
ois stultifies itself by kicking out the cornerstone of civilization on 
which it is found, namely, the family group that can exist only 
under monogamy." 

No one could be more shaken than Jack, in July, by the 
beginning of war in Europe. And while he went on unre 
mittingly with writing and ranch, the war was the under 
current of every thought. More staunchly than ever before 
he reiterated his faith in England. "England is fighting 
her first popular war," he would say; and he could not for 
give Germany, over and above her sworn Frightfulness, for 
having been stupid enough to think that England would 
not fight. 

But to any proposition bearing upon his presence in 
France as correspondent, he practically turned a deaf ear, 
in 1914 and thenceforward until he died. 

"Again I say, the Japanese settled the war correspond 
ent forever, by proving him non-essential. Look at Davis 
and the rest, some of the best in the world, " he would indi 
cate as the conflict widened. Eating out their hearts over 
there. Not for me. If I went, I would be unable to get 
what I went after. I have learned my lesson. If I ever do 



302 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

go to this war, it will be to fight with England and her 
Allies. . . . Meantime, I have a lot of mouths to feed, and 
irons in the fire, and I could not leave with my affairs in 
their present shape. " 

Yet I knew that had there been the ghost of an opening 
for him to see what he wished, he would have managed to go. 

He and Collier s corresponded upon the possibility, to 
find, in the end, that they agreed upon the matter. They 
wrote him: 

" We learned . . . that of the twelve English correspon 
dents chosen to join Sir John French s army not one has as 
yet been allowed the privilege, and the prospect seems that 
the thing has been indefinitely postponed. . . . The pre- 
cariousness of the whole business of war correspondents 
at the present time seems to make it rather futile to put 
first-class men in the field, BO to speak, and break their 
hearts by making it impossible for them to get anywhere of 
real importance. . . . We sent you a clipping some days ago 
which shows that finally all belligerents have decided to do 
away with correspondents. The result is that we can only 
get certain casual articles from roving writers of one sort 
or another with very little or real stuff from the front. 

Exasperated with the way he felt the Mexican crisis had 
been mishandled at Washington, Jack grew more so with 
the failure of his own country, as time went on, to take a 
hand in the European crisis. The effect of all this was to 
stimulate his brain to more thinking, while at the same time 
he increased his work and plans for work in every direc 
tion. 

When in June he gave me "The Strength of the Strong/ 
the fly leaf reminded me of that in a book he had sent me the 
month before our marriage, in which was written : "The red 
gods call to us. We fling ourselves across the world to 
meet again and not to part. And here, nine years later, 
I found: 



NEW YORK; MEXICO; ROAMER 303 

"Back again from Vera Cruz, and all the world, you back with 
me from the war game, I am almost driven to assert that our little 
war game adventure was as sweet and fine as our first honeymoon. 

In the Indian summer we rejoined the Roamer at San 
Eafael and spent months upon the big bay. The Exposition 
was rising from the water s edge and many the late after 
noon we pulled up our fishing-lines where we lay off Angel 
Island, and sailed to where we could watch that dream city 
of domes and minarets in the flood of sunset rose and gold. 

On December 8, Jack signed and dated the manuscript of 
"The Little Lady of the Big House/ and began working up 
notes for the Grove Play, which the Bohemian Club had 
asked him to prepare for the 1916 High Jinks. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 

ROAMER; RETURN TO HAWAII; GLEN ELLEN FORTIETH YEAR 

1915 

WANT to hear some of your husband s verse ?" he 
queried with mock gravity, inking a period to his 
first morning s work upon "The Acorn Planter. " "Come 
below, and listen how it runs along !" 

He had much sport writing this thin little volume. But 
let no one mistake that he was not in dead earnest with 
regard to its motif. Far from attempting formal versifi 
cation, he but fixed more noticeably the runic tendency in 
earlier work which had dealt with the Younger World. 
When it was done and read aloud, he passed me the last 
slender sheaf to copy, sighing: 

"I don t know what to think of it and yet, I don t 
believe it is so bad ! Good or bad, however, it is done ; so 
send it along to the Secretary of the Bohemian Club. 

One thing about it, though: I ll bet the composers in 

the Club are going to have merry hell putting music to it. 
They ve done Indian stuff before now; but this goes too far 
back into the raw beginnings of the race, I fear. . . . Ready 
to cast off, Nakata?" And Jack sprang to the Roamer s 
wheel, and in fine disdain of wind and wave forgot "The 
Acorn Planter," and all its works. 

It was for the very reason feared by Jack that the Grove 
Play was finally written by some one else. "The Acorn 
Planter" has never been enacted, but appeared in book- 
form in 1916. "And somehow, I like the little thing," he 
would say, passing his hand over it. 

304 



EETUBN TO HAWAII; FOETIETH YEAR 305 

"And now," lie announced at nine the morning after it 
was finished, J now for a dog-story. I just seem to have to 
write one every so often." 

This was " Jerry," which was followed by a companion 
book, "Michael," as "The Call of the Wild" had preceded 
"White Fang." When, Jack gone beyond consulting, I 
was confronted with the dilemma of issuing "Jerry" simul 
taneously with a book of the same name from another house, 
I hit upon "Jerry of the Islands," with "Michael Brother 
of Jerry" to balance the sequel. Jack had planned, after 
bringing out both volumes, eventually to combine them 
under the title of "Jerry and Michael." I remember how 
he reveled in creating the Ancient Mariner. 

1 1 Michael, beneath its delightful romance and character 
portraiture, is frank propaganda for the stamping out of 
stage-training for animals. To this end, Jack had for years 
been quietly collecting data from every available source. 
No reader who would understand his motive should pass by 
the Preface of "Michael, Brother of Jerry," which states 
his views. Out of this book has grown a rapidly expand 
ing, international organization known as The Jack London 
Club. There are no dues. 

"Jerry" and "Michael" appeared duly in The Cosmo 
politan Magazine, and the books were published in 1917 
and 1918 respectively. "Jerry" was partly written in 
Hawaii. 

Young friends in Stockton persuaded us to leave 
the yacht at anchor and join a week-end jaunt to Truckee, 
for the winter sports. There in the High Sierras we tobog- 
anned and went on sleighing parties. A visit to the lake 
where the ill-starred Donner Party had made its last stand 
against odds, affected Jack that frontier tragedy, with 
others of the brave old days, having always stirred his 
imagination. The skiirg, while he watched it by the hour, 
and ice-skating, Jack would not attempt with his * smashed 
ankles, which had been cramping at night. "Getting old, 



306 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

getting old," he would grit through his teeth while I manip 
ulated the small feet. 1 1 Do you realize that your husband is 
in his fortieth year?" 

Then he met "Scotty," otherwise Mr. J. H. Scott, cham 
pion dog-musher, with his prize teams of Malemutes and 
Siberian huskies, gee-pole sleds and all. Jack s pleasure 
knew no bounds because, forsooth, beyond all personal joy 
in renewing acquaintance with the trappings of a wonder 
ful phase in his youth, he could now show me the old way 
of the Northland. " Scotty" appreciated the situation, and 
we must drive with him. Two sleds swung up to the curb, 
one driven by Mr. Brady, and we took the novel airing for 
glistening miles to a neighboring mountain town Jack 
behind the eight Malemutes, I drawn by the dozen lighter 
dogs, little chow-like things of fluff and steel, with plumy 
curled tails and the brightest, merriest eyes and manners 
in the world, ready to stampede the outfit any moment a 
rabbit hove above the white horizon. 

"Gee! I wish it were possible to film The Call of the 
Wild, Jack considered. "What good materials right here! 
But I don t see how it could be done a dog hero would be 
necessary." 

* How about your stage-training for animals ? " I hinted. 
But he thought the "cruelty" would be negligible in pre 
paring a dog, whose part at best could be but subsidiary. 

"Bemember," he worked it out, "a long time, in 
one place, with no harsh traveling conditions, would be 
taken to get the dog in shape. A few performances, at 
most, would do the trick, which is very different from the 
vaudeville circuit, my dear, where the animal is obliged, 
fair weather and foul, to go through the same act, often of 
most unnatural character, from two to four times a day, 
year in and year out." 

Eight here is a good place to make clear Jack London s 
position with regard to a much-mooted issue, that of vivi 
section. He subscribed to the use, not the abuse of vivi- 



EETUEN TO HAWAII; FOETIETH YEAR 307 

section, approaching this subject, as all others, through the 
scientific avenue. 

"No, I ll admit, I d run a thousand miles rather than 
see a pet dog of mine cut up. But if it were a choice between 
having my dog or any dog experimented upon, and my 
child or any child, I d say the dog every time." 

Thus, he had little time to waste in argument with men 
and women who made claim that no benefit had been derived 
from vivisection, no human life saved by the conclusions 
therefrom. He considered that he knew better, what of 
the time he spent with the books. 

"There will always be fanatics, and there will always 
be abuse, in any field of research," he would declare. "But 
the legitimate practice of vivisection should not be inter 
fered with. It should be subject to inspection and control 
but not by ignorant and prejudiced sentimentalists, who 
won t listen to the good features of a proposition, and who 
exaggerate the regretable." 

There was something inimical working in Jack s blood 
those days. No sooner were we back on the Eanch, than the 
sporadic cramps were succeeded by an attack of rheumatism 
in one foot. 

"And gaze out of that window, at the weather," he 
grieved, pointing from his bed to the streaming landscape. 
"Last winter there wasn t enough rain. This year we re 
swamped! God doesn t love the farmer! But the drain- 
tile is carrying off a lot of the overflow things are work 
ing, things are working!" he cheered up. 

Severe pyorrhea of long standing contributed its quota 
of poison; and, in his acid condition, his yachting fare of 
twelve-minute-roasted canvasback and mallard, and red- 
meated raw fish, was hazardous menu. He experimented 
with emetine, and had the village doctor make tri-weekly 
calls at the Eanch to give him intramuscular hypodermic 
injections. Jack s mouth altered considerably in latter 
years, from loss of all upper teeth and wearing a plate 



308 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

The upper lip, once full and narrowing to the deep corners, 
grew thinner and more straight of line. It was no less 
beautiful merely different from the more youthful fea 
ture. Jack s face, at whatever age, breaking into smile 
of lips and eyes, was one that, once seen, was never for 
gotten. It is undying. It will persist as long as the life of 
any one who beheld it. 

Before sailing for Honolulu on February 24, we made 
several trips to that loveliest of evanescent cities, the Pan- 
Pacific Exposition. Jack cared little, as a rule, for that 
sort of spectacle and amusement. But the sunset metropolis 
enfolded him in its golden embrace, charmed him into hours 
of unwonted idleness, through afternoon and blue twi 
light, listening to the fountains and watching the Tower of 
Jewels blossom against the starlit skies. One day I par 
ticularly recall, when we had arrived early and stepped 
into the human, holiday atmosphere that pervaded the vast 
inclosure. 

1 i I never drove a car in my life, Jack threatened. * * It s 
time I began. Woman, climb in!" What I was so sum 
marily invited to climb into was one of the handy electric- 
driven wheel-chairs that rest many tired limbs. How we 
laughed; and how the morning strollers laughed with the 
enthusiastic, noisy boy with the cap and curls, who coaxed 
the feeble mechanism into doing his will, and when it would 
not respond, talked to it eloquently before dismounting 
and lifting it around. It was Jack London, any of you 
who joined in gayety with the exuberant boy that crisp 
California morning. Once, stalled momentarily in a ge 
ranium nursery behind the giant arbor that was the 
Horticultural Building, he stopped to admire the floral 
flames. He did not live to learn that one of them, a large 
crimson single variety, had been named for himself. 

Going to Hawaii had been farthest from our thoughts 
that winter of 1915, and our decision was a result of the 
merest turn of events. Jack, beneath almost more than he 



RETURN TO HAWAII; FORTIETH YEAR 309 

could stagger, even with his large earnings, intended to 
stay close at home and work out his financial salvation 
under double pressure of work. The Cosmopolitan had 
offered release from his fiction contract long enough for 
him to accompany the Atlantic Fleet, carrying the Presi 
dent, on its jaunt through the Panama Canal to the Exposi 
tion. Jack s personal desire, or lack of desire to leave 
home, is expressed in his telegraphic reply : 

"Glen Ellen, December 18, 1914. 

"Don t want to go anywhere. Don t want to do anything ex 
cept stay in California and write two dandy novels, the first of 
which I am now framing up. However, since I like to be as good 
to my friends as I like my friends to be good to me, I am willing to 
fall for the Panama adventure if it does not compel me to lose 
too much financially. 

* European war has hit me hard financially, wherefore in view 
of fact that Panama trip is short enough not to prevent my deliver 
ing next year s serials on time, the primary stipulation is that 
regular check comes to Ranch every month, including the month 
in which I do Panama. Wire me full business details, dates, and 
amount of stuff I am expected to write. Should like several days 
in New York before sailing." 

It was not for me to sail on the battleship, and while I 
accepted my feminine fate, I declined again to remain 
in California during an absence of Jack. "I shall go to 
Honolulu and join Beth," referring to my cousin, Beth 
Wiley, who was wintering here. "I can be in San Fran 
cisco for your return. " 

Jack, though outwardly falling in with my plan, I think 
was rather taken aback at the idea of his small woman 
going her own way, alone. It was amusing to note his 
restlessness. Not once but many times he would boil over. 

"I don t want to go on that damned Panama trip I 
want to go to Hawaii with you, and work on * Jerry 7 and 
1 Michael! " 



310 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Or: " Somehow, I can t be content not to see the Islands 
again, with you." 

The exigencies of the European conflict having made it 
necessary to call off the Fleet s Exposition voyage, Jack s 
voice rang with the good news : 

"Look what I ve got! And now, Mate Woman, I can 
go to Hawaii with you!" 

But when, standing on the deck of the Matsonia, we 
waved farewell to our friends, he confessed : 

"Do you know the true reason I am aboard this ship 
to-day? Because I could not bear to disappoint you and 
incidentally myself. I ought not to go away, with all those 
important things needing my attention. But I just couldn t 
risk the sight of your face when I should tell you that you d 
have to go alone after all!" 

"But I wouldn t," said I, with a great relief that our 
feet were on the outward-bound planking. "I should have 
staid home, of course, where I belonged and beside," I put 
in slyly, "if you had let business keep you home, it would be 
the first time! You ve always been able to manage things 
from a distance, and the mails and cable facilities are still 
working. 

"You re right," he acknowledged. 

This and our next visit, as before written, are detailed 
in my book "Our Hawaii." In the 1921 edition, I have 
included three articles written by Jack in 1916, entitled "My 
Hawaiian Aloha," which one of the Territory s leading men 
pronounced "worth millions to the Islands." 

We took our own servants and set up housekeeping, in 
the first instance on Beach Walk, whence we came and went 
on inter-island travels in the group. Our daily life in the 
pretty cottage included the same working habits as at 
home ; and afternoons were spent on the beach. Each day, 
after luncheon, saw Jack, often robed in a blue kimono of 
bold design, carrying a long bag of similar fabric contain 
ing reading matter and cigarettes, with a bath-towel wound 



EETUEN TO HAWAII; FORTIETH YEAR 311 

turban-wise around his head, soft-footing Kalia Road 
bound for the Outrigger Club. They were happy hours, 
lying on the shady sand among the barbaric black-and- 
yellow canoes, reading aloud, napping, and chatting with 
our friends. Later in the day we swam through and beyond 
the breakers and spent some of the most wonderful moments 
of our united lives floating in the deeper water where, in 
the swaying, caressing element, undisturbed betwixt sky 
and earth, all things lost their complicated aspect, and we 
talked simply and solemnly of the issues that count most in 
human relationship. 

When "The Scarlet Plague," written just before the 
baby was born, had been received, in it he wrote : 

"My Mate- Woman: 

"And here, in blessed Hawaii, eight years after our voyage 
here in our own speck boat, we find ourselves, not merely again, 
but more bound to each other than then or than ever. 

In March he wrote a Preface for "The Cry for Justice, " 
by Upton Sinclair. 

The following letter, written on June 3, is interesting: 

"Dear Cloudesley: 

"In reply to yours of May 15. First of all, whatever you do, 
read Conrad s latest VICTORY. Read it, if you have to pawn 
your watch to buy it. Conrad has exceeded himself. He must have 
deliberately set himself the challenge, and it is victory for him, 
because he has skinned "Ebb Tide." 

"He has made a woman out of nothing out of sweepings of 
life, and he has made her woman glorious. He has painted love 
with all love s illusion himself, Conrad, devoid of illusion. 

4 Lena goes without saying. She is Woman. But it is 
possible, absolutely possible, for the several such men as Mr. Jones, 
Ricardo, Pedro, Heyst, Schomberg, Morrison, Davidson, and Wang 
and his Alfuro woman, to exist. I know them all. I have met 
them all. I swear it. 



312 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"As regards the love of this book, the sex of this book all the 
love and the sex of it is correct, cursedly correct, splendidly, 
magnificently correct, with every curse of it and every splendid 
magnificence of it duly placed, shaded and balanced. Yes, and 
the very love of Ricardo is tremendous and correct. 

"In brief, I am glad that I am alive, if, for no other reason, 
because of the joy of reading this book. 

"Jack London." 

The next day, still filled with his emotion, he could not 
restrain himself from passing it on to the author of 
"Victory": 

"Honolulu, T. H., June 4, 1915. 
* Dear Joseph Conrad : 

The mynah birds are waking the hot dawn about me. The surf 
is thundering in my ears where it falls on the white sand of the 
beach, here at Waikiki, where the green grass at the roots of the 
cocoanut palms insists to the lip of the wave-wash. This night has 
been yours and mine. 

"I had just begun to write when I read your first early work. 
I have merely madly appreciated you and communicated my appre 
ciation to my friends through all these years. I never wrote you. 
I never dreamed to write you. But * Victory has swept me off my 
feet, and I am inclosing herewith a carbon copy of a letter written 
to a friend at the end of this lost night s sleep. [The letter to 
Cloudesley.] 

"Perhaps you will appreciate this lost night s sleep when I tell 
you that it was immediately preceded by a day s sail in a Japanese 
sampan of sixty miles from the Leper Settlement of Molokai 
(where Mrs. London and I had been revisiting old friends) to 
Honolulu. 

"On your head be it. 

"Aloha (which is a sweet word of greeting, the Hawaiian 
greeting, meaning My love be with you.") 

"Jack London." 

Never, before or since, have I taken such hazards with 
the water as during those months at Waikiki, under Jack s 



RETURN TO HAWAII; FORTIETH YEAR 313 

tutelage. Always relying upon that sixth sense of his in 
matters of life and death, I followed his lead wherever he 
thought by direction I could go, and accomplished what I 
would not have deemed possible for myself. But he never 
led me where he feared I could not safely swim. And when 
once or twice we had surmounted conditions that kept 
shorebound the canoes and even surfriders, and returned 
unexhausted, his joy and pride in his "one small woman " 
were unlimited. 

"You re so little, so frail, white woman of my own 
kind," he would marvel, his great eyes looking into me 
as if to discern the fiber of which I was made. Look at that 
arm, with its delicate bones I could snap it like a clay pipe- 
stem . . . and yet, those arms never faltered in that succes 
sion of smoking combers to-day . . ." He tapped his fore 
head: "That s where it resides that s what makes the 
trivial flesh and bone able to do what it does!" 

Deep thinker though he was, and worshipful of the brain- 
stuff of others, he ever found shining things of the spirit in 
courageous physical endeavor. I think, in a dozen close 
years with him, year in and year out, "in sickness and in 
health," till death did us part, that never have I seen him 
more elated, more uplifted with delight over feat of one 
dear to him, than upon one April day at Waikiki. 

An out-and-out Kona gale had piled up a big, quick- 
following surf, threshing milk-white and ominous under a 
leaden, low-hanging sky. At the Outrigger beach no soul 
was visible ; but a group of young sea-gods belonging to the 
Club sat with bare feet outstretched on the railing of the 
lanai above the canoes. Joining them, Jack inquired if they 
were "going out." "Nothing doing," one laughed. And 
another, "This is no day for surf -boards and a canoe 
couldn t live in that mess!" "But we are going to swim 
out," Jack said. "You d better not, Mr. London," the 
boys frowned respectfully. "You couldn t take a woman 



314 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

into that water. " "You watch me," Jack returned. "I 
could, and shall." 

We went. Now, understand : it was not to be spectacu 
lar that Jack led me into the sea that day. This was not 
bravado. With the several weeks training he had given 
me in sizable breakers, he expected as a matter of course 
to see me put that training to account. And I felt as one 
with him. The thing was, first, to get beyond the diving- 
stage, for a freshet had brought down the little river a 
tangle of thorned algaroba and other prickly vegetation, 
which, with a wild wrack of seaweed, made the shallow 
almost impassable. 

Very slowly we forged outward, and at length were in 
position where the marching seas were forming and over- 
toppling. Eather stupendous they loomed, I will confess; 
but, remembering other and smaller ones and obeying scru 
pulously Jack s quiet "Don t get straight up and down 
straighten out keep flat, keep flat!" I managed not 
badly to breast and pass through a dozen or more smoking 
combers that followed fast and faster. 

When I finally ventured, "I think I have had 
enough," immediately Jack slanted our course channel- 
ward where the tide flows out toward the reef egress. But 
after half an hour we found we were, despite all effort, 
drifting willy nilly out to sea. By now, the young sea-gods 
had followed with their boards, fearing we might come to 
grief; and upon their advice we rejoined the breaking water, 
and "came in strong" with our best strokes to the Beach. 

Which I tell, further to point his passion for physical 
courage and prowess that after all are but mental. "I d 
like you to write books, if you wanted to," was his final 
word; "but I d rather see woman of mine win through 
those great seas out there than write great books!" 

Jack s health was fairly good that summer, though he 
seemed to be on tension, and prone to argue overlong and 
over-intensely. Indeed, as time went on, he battled with 



EETUEN TO HAWAII; FOETIETH YEAE 315 

this and that opponent, or provoked skirmishes, with an 
increasing fervor and violence that ill-betokened a peace 
ful old age. Oh, well, I J d rather wear out than rust out ! 
was his verdict on the matter. 

And once Jack told me a thing that will abide like a 
dove of peace until I die, as one of my sweetest touches with 
this sweetest of men : 

"I never said this to you," he began; "but many years 
ago, before I knew you existed, I lay one afternoon on a 
California beach at Santa Cruz in one of my great dis 
gusts . . . you know when I have dared look Truth in 
the face and become blackly pessimistic about the world 
and the men and women in it who cannot learn, who cannot 
use their puny minds. It was a warm, still day ; and while 
I lay, with my face on my arms, over and above the steady 
breathing of the ocean and splashing of a small surf, there 
came to me, from very far off, almost like skylarks in the 
blue, the voices of a man and a woman. 

"I couldn t for the life of me figure where the voices 
came from. I raised my head, but no one was in sight on 
the beach ; and at last, the nearing conversation guided me 
seaward where I could just barely make out the heads of 
two persons very leisurely coming in, talking cozily out 
there in deep water, as unconcerned and comfortable as if 
sitting in the sand. 

" Something inside me suddenly yearned toward them 
they were so blest, those two together. And I wondered, 
lying there sadly enough, if there was a woman in the world 
for me who so loved the water the little woman who would 
be the right woman who would speak my own language 
with whom I could go out to sea,, without boat or life- 
preserver ; hours in the water holding long comradely talks 
on everything under the sun, with no more awareness of the 

means of locomotion than if walking. 1 could have told 

you this eight years ago," he mused, "that wonderful morn 
ing we swam together across Urufaru Bay in Moorea, 



316 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

while the Tahitians worried about the sharks. ... I 
thought of it at the time. But we were not alone. The stage 
was not set for you and me." 

I could see that the shame of civilization, the Great 
War, worked havoc in him. That any white nation, hunt 
ing for a place in the sun, should have made such a thing 
possible, was never out of his consciousness ; and he raved 
in his choicest vocabulary concerning Germania. Still, he 
did not think the war would last long. We were on Hawaii, 
the "Big Island," with the 1915 Congressional junketing 
party from Washington, on which Jack had been made one 
of the entertainment committee, when the stunning intelli 
gence came of the sinking of the Lusitania. Jack, for once, 
was shocked into something akin to silence. To his mind, 
the best characterization of that crime was the one made 
by I have forgotten whom: " When Germany, with paean of 
joy, committed suicide !" 

To certain harsh comments upon a young English friend 
who, answering Great Britain s call, left his mother and his 
children in Honolulu, Jack pleaded with blazing eyes : 

"You do not seem to understand: he had to go. There 
was no other way out, for him, than the one he chose ; he 
could not have done other than he did ... as well criticize 
the flame that burns, as criticize this royal thing of the 
spirit within him that drew him from success, and love of 
children, and fat security, half-way across the world to fling 
himself into the maelstrom of battle, pain and death all 
for an Idea. 

In the latter part of July, we bade good bye to Hono 
lulu. Jack said: "We must go back soon. I feel as if 
our visit had been interrupted. " For he had made many 
friends, conquered a few outstanding prejudices, and felt 
much at home in this neighboring "fleet of Islands" above 
the Line. 

We landed into the annoyance of trouble with the 
grapejuice company, but it seemed as if difficulties of this 



EETUEN TO HAWAII; FORTIETH YEAR 317 

sort were all in the day s work. "What am I to think? I 
go into the cleanest sort of business, to make the best non 
alcoholic drink known, and I get it in the neck, pronto just 
like that! " 

1 But the lake s full of water for my alfalfa, he checked 
himself, "and that means more life, more abundance of 
butter-fat from your little Jerseys, bigger Shire colts, 
heavier beef cattle, and the rest ! 

To our mutual rejoicing, the water was warm enough 
for swimming, and Jack asked his sister to shift a gang 
from some other section of the ranch, "run up" a log bath 
house of six rooms and lead the necessary piping for two 
showers. Inside of three days this convenience was a 
reality, as well as an appropriate accent in the scenery of 
the meadow. A rustic table and seats, set within a circle of 
redwoods, two canvas boats forgotten out of the Snarls s 
dunnage, together with a diving float, perfected our equip 
ment for al fresco entertaining. 

Jack stocked the lakelet with catfish brought from the 
San Joaquin river, and these proved a great advantage, 
both for sport and table. 

A trap-shooting outfit was purchased, but he never got 
around to having it installed. "I can t find a place that 
seems exactly right," he complained; "nor a good spot for 
a tennis court. As for golf links " he put it up to Joe 
Mather, l if you 11 make suggestions where they can be laid 
out, I ll go ahead and have the work done." 

There had been correspondence with Mr. Edgar Sisson, 
then editor of The Cosmopolitan, as to writing a "movie" 
novel based upon a scenario by Charles Goddard, author of 
"The Perils of Pauline" and other "thrillers" of the 
screen. Chapters of the novel were to appear in the string 
of Hearst newspapers, and simultaneously illustrated in 
the cinema theatres. Jack was not enthusiastic at first, 
but saw a possible way to recoup his pocketbook from his 



318 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

tremendous outlay on the ranch. His suggestion being 
agreed upon for a lump sum running into five large figures 
with temporary release from his regular measure of fiction, 
he launched into it with glee: 

" Think it ll be sheer recreation, though I double my 
usual daily portion, at double my usual rate ! And I don t 
have to do a thing but reel off the stuff, upon Goddard s 
scenario notes. I don t have to worry about plot, or 
sequence of events, or contribute a single idea if I don t 
want to ! " 

He never ceased to maintain that he hated to write had 
to drive himself to it. It made him flare when this was ques 
tioned. In reply to an unknown admirer, he wrote: ", . . 
Let me tell you that I envy you. You delight to write. 
You delight in your writing. You are enamored of writing, 
while I, with the publication of my first book, lost all joy 
in writing. I go each day to my daily task as a slave would 
go to his task. I detest writing. On the other hand it is 
the best way I have ever found to make a very good 
living. So I continue to write. But his best work was con 
ceived in passion for its own sake, and I think one feels 
his urge of self-expression, while many were his enthu 
siasms over what he was doing. One short piece of work 
gave him a great deal of pleasure a Preface for a new 
edition of Dana s "Two Years Before the Mast." Be 
cause of absence from California, his manuscript did not 
reach Macmillans in season, pnd it was a keen disappoint 
ment to Jack that the book was published without his appre 
ciation. So the most he could do was to include it in a book- 
collection, and it appears, under the title of "A Classic of 
the Sea," in "The Human Drift." 

Mr. Sisson and Mr. Goddard paid us a visit to discuss 
ways and means, because Jack avowed his determination of 
taking this work to Hawaii, where Mr. Goddard would have 
to send his installments of scenario for the novelist s guid 
ance. When in the spring of 1916, at Waikiki, he completed 



RETURN TO HAWAII; FORTIETH YEAR 319 

this manuscript of what has been called "frenzied fiction" 
he wrote a Foreword explaining at length how he had come 
to lend himself to such a bizarre undertaking. "In truth," 
he says, "this yarn is a celebration. By its completion I 
celebrate my fortieth birthday, my fiftieth book, my six 
teenth year in the writing game, and a new departure. I 
have certainly never done anything like it before; I am 
pretty certain never to do anything like it again. And he 
then goes deeper into his subject. 

"Hearts of Three," they named it; and, as a sympa 
thetic critic has suggested, it should be viewed as something 
of a joke the most adventurous, high-spirited, rollicking, 
ridiculous, impossible stuff in the world, an outrageous 
thing of delightful absurdity. In this light Jack regarded 
it, and had the time of his life in its fabrication. He re 
ceived his money, but died before the story was published 
in the newspapers; and for some reason it has not, up to 
1921, been presented upon the screen. 

Our loss of Nakata, to marriage and career, at the end 
of 1915, constituted more than a domestic flurry. He had 
nearly every prerequisite of the close and confidential ser 
vitor, and it is hard to decide which suffered more from his 
absence, Jack or myself. All in all, I think it was Jack. 
Next, our guests missed his cheery and charming service, 
for "Where is Nakata?" ordinarily followed greetings from 
our friends. 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

THE WAR; HAW AH 

1916 

AND now I come to the last and most difficult movement 
in my undertaking. The mere narrative is nothing 
that in March, with our Japanese, we sailed on the Great 
Northern for Honolulu, rented a spreading old bungalow at 
2201 Kalia Eoad, Waikiki, and lived the gay life of the sub- 
tropic city, breaking the round with wonderful inter-island 
explorations, and returning to California after seven 
months. 

What is so difficult is the developing of this last earthly 
phase of Jack London, so that all who run may read and 
not wonder overmuch why, through sheer neglect, he cut 
himself off, or caused himself to be cut off from the larger 
fulfilment of himself. For I truly believe that his best work 
was yet to come. That he believed it, I am equally con 
vinced. "Just wait, wait until I ve got everything going 
ahead smoothly, and don t have to consider the where 
withal any more, and then I am going to write some real 
books !" 

Jack s life is the story of a princely ego that struggled 
for full expression, and realized it only in a small degree. 
There were so few to heed his deeper self-manifestations. 
As a mere lad, he was conscious of that superiority and of 
its environmental discrepancy, and all the while fought for 
the congenial environment. As he grew in mental stature, 
he recognized himself as part of the whole ego-substance, 
and proceeded to fight for the proper environment for egos 

320 



THE WAR; HAWAII 321 

other than his own. Hence, Jack the Individualist, and 
Jack the Socialist. 

The result of his individual struggle for expression, 
when young, was Success, Recognition. Yet, as I have 
already written, such was the universal quality of his mind 
that he would have reached success, as the world regards 
it, by way of any medium of expression he had selected 
under ceaseless urge of that princely ego. Perhaps, as the 
years lapsed, if the world had demanded more, he might 
have been forced into an expression somewhere nearly ade 
quate to his inner demand. But the world acclaimed what 
he did do, and the money that same world paid enabled him 
to search for happiness a goal in itself. Yet happiness, 
as he saw it, was endeavor, always endeavor, the accumula 
tion of knowledge, and to no small end. He created an 
environment which bade fair to balance in extent his royal 
requirement the wide-reaching acres with their herds of 
the best, the lavish Ihospitality, the gre/at house. (Yet 
throughout he preserved the collective ideal, gave to others 
the unselfish help of his brain and time and money, impelled 
by an incorruptible ideal of making the world a better place 
for his having lived in it of "causing two blades of grass 
to grow where one grew before." 

But with all this in his grasp, the instinct to search still 
drove him on. He was doomed to remain unsatisfied, and 
unsatisfied he remained. The ultimate aim could not be 
fame, nor money, nor anything the world had in its gift. I 
had almost said that Love itself left him empty ; but insofar 
as he loved Love, and could not live without Love and what 
understanding and ease of spirit Love could vouchsafe in 
his unguarded moments of despair, Love, I say, given and 
returned, kept him alive for many a year. This I know. 

He had tried during his life all the ways known to man 
for getting away from an insatiable ego. And all he had 
really succeeded in was to obscure the demands that he had 
by his white logic interpreted, and had striven so hard to 



322 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

placate. It may be he sensed this long before he came 
face to face with and acknowledged it; and this probably 
led him more or less consciously to greater emphasis upon 
all the things with which he drugged his perception of 
futility his work, his amusements, and the dream of scien 
tific husbandry into which his unquenchable pioneering 
spirit had led him. And when, once in a while, he brought 
up and staggered before a flash of insight to the way he 
was bound, he called upon all the artifices of a superb 
intellect to prove he was right in defying the vision. It 
was a regal battle, and he lost at least, so far as concerns 
the perceptions of most of us who are left. No man with 
his capacity could ever really bury the melancholy heritage 
that is coincident with the brain that seeks and scans too 
closely the fearful face of Truth. * My mistake in opening 
the books, " he would repeat. " Sometimes I wish I had 
never opened the books. " Still, except as he was warped 
by sickness, at any time he was glad to quote, " E liked 
it all." The game was worth the candle. 

The conflict shows in the caliber of literature that first 
earned him renown, and the caliber of that which served 
his chosen end, preaching the things which filled his brain 
and hands with work that waided off the final capitulation 
he made to his fate. The first is distinguished by the im 
personal note ; the second marked equally by the personal. 
Had the human clay of him been equal to his mental 
capacity and urge, he might in time have stood out grand 
and free and his gift to the ages been of unequaled value. 
As note : 

For months Jack had been reading, in his intensive 
method, in conjunction with the works of all the best alien 
ists, upon the subject of Psychoanalysis Freud, Prince, 
and, most of all, Jung. Much he read aloud, calling me to 
him, or following me about to instil certain passages. But 
it was one utterance, in that summer of 1916, that made me 
realize, distinct from the excitement that the conquest of 



THE WAR; HAWAII 323 

Knowledge always produced in him, that he had at last come 
upon something commensurate with his highest powers of 
penetration. His eyes like stars, his face still with a high 
solemnity I had never before seen upon it, in a voice so 
prophetic that my soul has been listening ever since, he 
said: 

Mate Woman, I tell you I am standing on the edge of a 
world so new, so terrible, so wonderful, that I am almost 
afraid to look over into it." 

As I came to look with him over that brink into the 
possibilities of that new world which is as old as Time, I 
began to see what it was beginning to mean to him who had 
sensed its abysses as long ago as when he wrote "The Call 
of the Wild," ay, and before that. With his synthetic 
mind, he would have been a splendid exponent of what bids 
fair to be the limitless scope and application of the prin 
ciples of Psychoanalysis. At times, when he expounded his 
hopes of what he would be able to accomplish in this 
research I was caught up into his vision. But so terrific 
was the marvel of what he dared dream he might do, that 
one s every-day senses reeled away from the contem 
plation. I have no words, no skill, with which to transfer 
to my reader this look into the gulf. But why, Jack thought, 
if he could learn to analyze the secret soul-stuff of the 
individual and bring it up to the light of foreconsciousness, 
could not he analyze the soul of the race, back and back, 
ever farther into the shadows, to its murky beginnings! 
His eyes, when he thus speculated, were those, not in the 
least of a fanatic, but of a seer, deep as the ages. He 
walked on air, yet the actual material practically of it 
appealed before all. 

While he laid aside the heavy volumes read and anno 
tated, until such time say on a voyage to Japan in 1917 as 
he could review them with me, Jack applied their principle 
more than was entirely safe for the complacency of those 
with whom he came in contact. If he had ever before used 



324 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

the world and its inhabitants to keep him interested in the 
game of life, he now employed them in ways they never 
guessed in casual association with him. Applying his new 
system of approach, all in the way of social intercourse he 
was delving into the soul-stuff of men and women as they 
never would have dared analyze the significance of their 
own repressions. He went to startling lengths in this 
risky game of " playing with souls. " Old curiosities, long 
since laid, were resurrected, to be dipped in the alem 
bic of psychoanalysis, and he experimented with his own 
caprices in the most unexpected ways. 

Perhaps the majority of the minds which he laid bare 
were not of a quality to make his investigation profitable. 
However that may be, it brought to him and this was my 
greatest fear yet more disillusion with the human element 
that had already suffered much in his regard. When the 
measure of a thinker s associates steadily shrinks in his 
estimate, that thinker, maddened by their immobility to 
ideas, is facing annihilation. The situation becomes insup 
portable. The "will to live" weakens and breaks down, no 
matter how fair the world nor Love how sweet. Jack s 
conclusions were saddening in the extreme. A paragraph 
from H. G. Wells s "The Discovery of the Future" so 
appositely expresses Jack s attitude from time to time, that 
I shall quote it instead of trying to reconstruct his own 
words : 

"I do not think I could possibly join the worship of humanity 
with any gravity or sincerity. Think of it ! Think of the positive 
facts. There are surely moods for all of us when one can feel 
Swift s amazement, that such a being should deal in pride. There 
are moods when one can join in the laughter of Democritus ; and 
they would come oftener were not the spectacle of human little 
ness so abundantly shot with pain." 

Wells goes on to say that the pain of the world is also 
shot with promise ; but Jack at this stage was grudging of 
this expectation. 



THE WAE; HAWAII 325 

I was too close to it all to see the full drift of his fall ; 
or, better, in my characteristic way, while doing my best in 
a given set of circumstances, I would not admit what I 
shrank from facing. The test of my endurance was severe, 
for Jack required so greatly of me in the capacities of wife, 
lover, friend, even confessor, for he withheld nothing 
nothing, I repeat of what he was passing through; and 
my responsibility, it may be guessed, was almost more than 
I could bear and preserve a cheerful poise. That he missed 
little of this, I am assured. More than thrice he sud 
denly remarked: "You are the only one in the world who 
could live with me!" Which was with direct reference to 
his intellectual vagaries, and not to any personal difficul 
ties. It is all an inexpressibly dear heritage the memory 
of that with which he entrusted me. I might think I 
had failed in many particulars, except for the continuance 
of his confidence and his almost childlike dependence upon 
me when his burden was too great. A generous friend, 
talking with him shortly before his death, has given me 
Jack s declaration, speaking of myself: "She has never 
failed me. I have had the comfort of her stedfastness, and 
have gained strength from it. She is always ready to act 
with and for me at any moment. 

No matter how strange he seemed at times, nor how 
isolate, I learned I must stand by, night and day, for his 
instant need. There would be, say, a tirade against the 
infinitesimal natures of folk, or an argument, and he might 
work himself into a frenzy wherein I accused him of intel 
lectual unfairness ; or, we might disagree vitally upon some 
personal matter. Once, twice, I withdrew and left him to 
work out his humor by himself. But he could not, or would 
not. I found myself not daring to pursue this course ; and 
thereafter, in the Islands and later at home, when the impul 
sion was upon him, I did my best to maintain my end in 
discussion, into the small hours if necessary, until he was 
exhausted, when, suddenly, in his fighting-face there would 



326 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

dawn the sweetness that disarmed anger and criticism alike 
in friend and foe. He would fall asleep in my arms, awak 
ening penitent for the pallor of my cheeks that no smile 
could camouflage, and gratitude for the smile. A conversa 
tion something like this would ensue : 

"Bear with me, Mate Woman you re all I ve got." 

"I do. I do." 

Then, do more than that!" 

"I will! I will!" 

Any chiding that he was not taking sufficient nourish 
ment, and neglecting his exercise, elicited the time-honored 
response : 

"I m all right don t bother. And you re never up in 
time to see the huge breakfast I tuck away three cups of 
coffee, with heavy cream, two soft-boiled eggs, half of a big 
papaia!" 

But it was months before I learned that every morning 
the ample bedside repast, which he so enjoyed with his 
morning Pacific Commercial Advertiser, was completely 
lost. That abiding pride in his "cast-iron stomach" had 
suffered an eclipse; and with it his God-given ability to 
sleep whensoever he elected. This was indeed a desperate 
case, and I was frightened, because from birth on I myself 
had bedded with insomnia, and feared its consequences 
upon one of Jack s temperament. Only three times did he 
tamper with a narcotic, for he realized its peril. "Oh, have 
no fear, my dear," he reassured me more than once, "I ll 
never go that way. I want to live a hundred years ! 

It being an unwritten rule that I was never to be dis 
turbed from sleep, I awoke in swift terror one morning in 
Honolulu to find Jack, his face working with pain, at my 
door: 

i I had to call you, Mate I am sorry but you must get 
a doctor. I don t know what it is, but it is awful ! And 
he crept back to his sleeping-porch. His friend Dr. Walters 



THE WAE; HAWAII 327 

was out, and Dr. Herbert responded, as best he could help 
ing Jack through the agony, diagnosing the cause as a 
calculus. 

I suppose it is a wise wife who, rather than make mar 
riage hideous by nagging, lets her husband destroy himself 
in his own uncaring way ! Even with the excruciating omen 
of worse to come, Jack made little or no effort to put off 
his day of dissolution. The friendly physicians exhorted in 
vain: he clung to his diet of raw aku (bonita), and, aside 
from the breakfast fruit and occasional poi, which he termed 
a " beneficent food," quite neglected the vegetable nutri 
ment his malady demanded, while the cramping of his ankles 
did not lessen. 

As for exercise, save for the most desultory and infre 
quent dips off-shore, he took none. My question, "Are you 
going to swim with me to-day ?" was oftenest met with: 

"Yes believe I will . . . No, I m right in the thick of 
this new box of reading-matter from home. Oh, I don t 
know the water looks so good . . . But no; I ll go out in 
the hammock where I can read and watch you. 9 And his 
bodily inertia won out. 

But it would strike me, looking back across the seawall 
to where, in blue kimono, he swung under the ancient hau 
tree, that he read little; whenever I waved back to him 
there was an immediate response that bridged the jade and 
turquoise space. But the arm stretched out to me was all 
too white from seeking the shadows. If I did not ask him 
to go out, then, the same day or another, he would remind 
me of it, with a mild reproach. 

Not a block would he walk to the electric tram, but called 
an automobile three miles from town whenever he wanted to 
go in for a shave. If he were not going out, and expected 
no company, he spent the day in bathing-trunks and kimono 
and sandals, not only for coolness at work, but because it 
was too much effort to dress. This calls up an incident 
that occurred one day in Honolulu, though I did not come 



328 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

upon the inwardness of it until long afterward. It goes to 
illustrate the sheep-mindedness of the mass of beings who 
wish to find famous men and women fashioned in the image 
of the quibbling, foppish, gnat-brained incarnation that is 
their own. Jack himself, small as was his respect for these, 
never failed to react to the clumsy stab of their inert yet 
harmful smugness harmful because it influences and fixes 
the attitude of masses of humans who might, otherwise 
guided, attain a freer view of life. 

A woman of Russian birth, passing through, wanted to 
meet this man Jack London, who so dominated the fancy of 
her countrymen. According to her story, certain tourist 
acquaintances warned her : But he isn t decent he s likely 
as not, we hear, to receive you dressed only in a kimono !" 
The lady was not to be balked ; and one day, unannounced, 
she called during Jack s working hours. In spite of his 
irritation at being so unceremoniously interrupted, she 
found him courteous and interesting, and did not stop 
over-long. 

"What did you think of him? What is he like?" her 
informants asked. 

"I think he is a very decent fellow, " the Russian began. 

But was n t he in his kimono 1 

"Why, yes I believe he was," coolly she rejoined. 
"And I want to say that, in his kimono, he seemed to me 
more fully clothed than most of the men one meets in full 
conventional attire." 

Except that he sat through long dinners without eating, 
Jack was normal enough to all intents. When anxious 
hostesses drew his attention to the untouched plate, he 
would repeat that story of the large breakfast, and declare 
that except at a Hawaiian luau (feast), where he made a 
practice of banqueting shamelessly, he would rather talk 
than eat ; and thereupon he closed the topic by taking up the 
thread of his discourse where it had been cut. 



THE WAE; HAWAII 329 

He drank very moderately. "Sometimes I think I m 
saturated with alcohol, so that my membranes have begun 
to rebel," he observed upon more than one occasion. "See 
how little in the glass and this is my first drink to-day ! 
A month before the end, in response to a telegram from 
Dr. W. H. Geystweit, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, 
San Diego, California, Jack wired : 

"Never had much experience with wine-grape growing. The 
vineyards I bought were old, worked out, worthless, so I pulled 
out the vines and planted other crops. I still work a few acres 
of profitable wine grapes. My position on alcohol is absolute, 
nation-wide Prohibition. I mean absolute. I have no patience in 
half-way measures. Half-way measures are unfair, are tantamount 
to confiscation, and are provocative of underhand cheating, lying, 
and law-breaking. When the nation goes in for nation-wide Pro 
hibition, that will be the end of alcohol, and there will be no cheat 
ing, lying nor law-breaking. Personally I shall continue to drink 
alcohol for as long as it is accessible. When absolute Prohibition 
makes alcohol inaccessible I shall drop drinking and it won t be any 
hardship on me and on men like me whose name is legion. And the 
generation of boys after us will not know anything about alcohol 
save that it was a stupid vice of their savage ancestors." 

In Hawaii for the most part he ordered "soft" drinks 
or "small beer" during the nights we spent in the open-air 
cafes, I dancing, he visiting at the tables with his friends. 
But ever he kept an eye upon me, as if looking for some one 
stable in a crashing world. Seldom, swinging near, did I 
fail to catch his glance and a little indulgent smile he had 
for the "kid woman" who, loving the dance, had gone 
without it for so many traveling years after marrying him. 

In a coterie of excellent players among Honolulu s men 
and women, both American and Hawaiian, much of Jack s 
recreation time was at cards mostly bridge, with now and 
then a poker game. 

To show the restlessness that was in him, I can instance 



330 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

the entertaining we did. Day after day at our house it 
would be a luncheon, a bridge party, tea, swimming, a din 
ner, and theatre, or dancing either at home or on the Roof 
Garden or at "Heinie s," and, likely, a midnight swim 
before bed. Some of the luncheon guests might be included 
in the afternoon cards outside in the little jungle of that 
magnificent hau tree, but new players had also been bidden. 
A fresh bevy blew in for tea and bathing, and the diners 
would be still another party. Friends for noonday or din 
ner usually numbered an even dozen, since the round table 
accommodated just that number. We lived in a whirl ; and 
many times, while I was at the telephone inviting for three 
different events for a certain day, Jack would come patter 
ing in his straw sandals across the large palm-potted rooms, 
and whisper : "While you re about it, better plan the crowds 
for the day after." 

A Honolulu neighbor, Charles Dana Wright, one day 
asked Jack: 

"Why do you always have twelve at your table?" 

"Because it won t hold any more!" was Jack s reply. 

He seemed running away from himself, filling in every 
moment, as if uneasy with too many disengaged dates in 
prospect. Yet he would suddenly tire of it all, and there 
would be a lull. One night, after an undisturbed day when 
we had worked, and swam, read aloud, played pinochle, 
and eaten alone together, he breathed with satisfied 
demeanor : "Happiest day I ever spent in Hawaii!" 

He had a way, at work in his cool green lanai (veranda) 
a mile from where B.L.S. once wrote by Waikiki waters 
of looking aside upon me as I walked about the long 
rooms ; and when I caught him at it, his lips would frame 
kisses in the air. What was behind the inscrutable, star- 
blue eyes that were never so beautiful as that summer in 
his Happy Isles, when he made no attempt to retard an 
illness that could not be less than fatal if not checked ? Was 
that mind that had "known the worst too young," and that 



THE WAR; HAWAII 331 

he had systematically overworked, now longing for sur 
cease, "restless for rest," as William Herbert Carruth so 
aptly put it? Does that account for the apparently delibe 
rate want of resistance? He, the eternal fighter, patently 
refused to fight for the reconstruction of a failing body, 
or to exert his powerful will to conserve his physical 
strength. On the contrary, it would seem as if the longing, 
at least of his unconscious mind, for cessation of effort to 
continue existence, swung him into a non-resistance which 
made for destruction. When he looked at me as he would 
look, was he hiding something he knew would fill me with 
terror did he have an intuition that I would be unthinkably 
alone with the falling of the autumn leaves ? One late after 
noon, in the hammock, he read me "In Autumn, " from 
George Sterling s "The Caged Eagle," just received from 
the poet. His voice broke at the last, and the eyes he raised 
to mine in a long, long gaze, were deep pools in which I felt 
us both drowning. But when at length he spoke, it was of 
the wonder of the man who had written the poem. 

I shall never know. All I do know is that he was upon 
the night ward slope of living, and that all I had to cling to 
was what sometimes fell from his lips when I had thought 
him absorbed in book or writing abruptly, as if wrung 
from him : 

1 t God ! Woman, if you knew how I love you ! 

And again, his eyes burning : 

"Child, child you don t know what love is!" 

Or he would murmur in a golden voice, across the length 
of the house, so that I must harken closely to hear : 

"I love you ... I love you." 

Once: 

"Take my heart in both your hands, My Woman." 

To me, who asked nothing from fate but to serve, he 
said one day: 

"I can refuse you nothing. Anything you ask for, in 
seriousness, you may have. I am so entirely yours; you 



332 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

can have anything you want of me. I d do anything for 
you actually, I believe I d murder, if you asked me?" 
He added: "Some day, when we are seventy, you and 
I, in the autumn of our long years together, I ll tell you 
some things about myself how I have come to know how 
unthinkably I love you." 

All this intensity was part of the raw state in which he 
was, dying, the dear heart, and how were we to know? One 
morning, it seems he thought I had told him a deliberate 
falsehood in a vital connotation, and I was at a loss to 
account for his alarming recklessness throughout the day. 
That night, worried, for once I eavesdropped, and heard 
him with his own soul: "To think of it! To think of it!" 
he wrestled with despair. The next day, quite as unwit 
tingly as I had dealt the erroneous impression, I undid the 
same. Then it all came out, with boyish jubilance in his 
relief, how he had agonized that "All I ve got in the world" 
had thrown him down ! 

When he heard that the old bungalow, whispering of 
romance, was on the market, he came to me, his eyes dilating 
with the pleasure of giving : 

"Do you want me to buy it for you, or do you prefer to 
wait till the war is done, and then get a sweet three-topmast 
schooner, fit her out, throw aboard your grand piano, a big 
launch, and a touring car, and start around the world for 
years ! 

Naturally I chose the schooner, and told him that if for 
only selfish reasons, the war could not terminate any too 
soon to please me! There he was, at it again his 
"crowded hour of glorious life" all too short for the large 
plans for work, thought, play ! I finger the sun-tanned note 
pad upon which he scribbled expense calculations for that 
post-bellum voyage : Six men, so much ; Captain, so much ; 
Engineer, Mate, Cook, Servants, Doctor with loose mar 
gins for his figures. "But, Mate," I objected, "that means 
no letup for you harder work than ever. " " What of it ? " 



THE WAE; HAWAII 333 

cheerily he laughed it off. "I make my work easy Pve 
got em all skinned to death !" 

Those little note-pads of Jack s I find them at every 
turn. "Always carry a notebook, " he advised. "Travel 
with it. Eat with it. Sleep with it. Slap into it every 
stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap 
paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil 
markings endure longer than memory. 

Certain photographs, one of himself and me in the gar 
den, and one of myself on Neuadd Hillside, he kept near his 
work-table, and often looked at them. And at home after 
ward, "Charmian, Charmicm . . ." he would murmur as he 
had murmured the day we first met, "I love your name. 
YouVe no idea how I stop all work and reading, and lie 
here just looking at your face in the frame." 

There were six weeks on end in Hawaii that Jack seemed 
quite his healthy, hearty self. This was during what can 
best be termed a "royal progress " upon which, in company 
with Miss Mary Low, a part-Hawaiian friend, diamond- 
trove of information and imagination, who made it possible 
at that time, we encircled the "Big Island." The details 
of this journey I have related in "Our Hawaii." It was a 
passage of unalloyed pleasure, fraught with plans for the 
future when we should return to do the thousand things 
that this time must be left undone. In my hand at this 
moment is one of Jack s yellow note-pad leaves, scribbled 
with the most fragmentary penciled items : 

"How not to know Hawaii . . . How the Tourist does 
it the tourist route never dreams. 

"How to know Hawaii. Wait under that surface 
excess of hospitality the deeps of a remarkable people 
really exclusive . . . Make no quick judgments. Come 
back, and come back, and then, some day, you will begin to 
find yourselves not only in their homes but in their hearts. 
And you will be well beloved ..." 



334 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"I almost think, " he said in retrospect, "that this has 
been the happiest month and a half I ever knew!" 

On that trip, having finished " Michael Brother of 
Jerry," he wrote his last gift to the Islands, the three 
articles which were published in The Cosmopolitan Maga 
zine, "My Hawaiian Aloha." A few short months there 
after one of the Territory 7 s most distinguished mouthpieces 
said of him. "In the death of Jack London Hawaii suf 
fered an irreparable loss. . . . Among our most lasting 
memories of him will be his earnest and enthusiastic assis 
tance in the organization of the Pan-Pacific Union. There 
was nothing that he disliked more than making speeches; 
but at meeting after meeting his voice was heard advocating 
the principle of the brotherhood of mankind and the recog 
nition of that principle as the guiding star of the peoples 
of the Pacific." 

Next, Jack produced a short story, "The Hussy," dat 
ing the end of the manuscript at "Kohala, Hawaii, May 5, 
1916." "The Hussy" is in book entitled "The Bed One," 
issued posthumously. Followed the short story, "The 
Bed One," in which is evidenced the author s profound 
meditation upon the reaching out of the most primordial 
toward the most cosmic all in stride with his study in race 
consciousness. Sometimes I wonder if it can be possible, 
in the ponderings of the dying scientist, Bassett, that 
Jack London revealed more of himself than he would 
have been willing to admit or else, who knows? more of 
himself than he himself realized. His ultimate discourage 
ment with the endless strife of humanity even unto the 
modern horrors of the Great War, are in the mouth of 
his puppet, speculating upon the inhabitants of other 
planets, and playing square with the old cannibal, Ngurn, 
because, forsooth, the old man had, according to his 
lights, l played squarer than square, and * l was in himself 
a forerunner of ethics and contract, of consideration, and 
gentleness in man. 



THE WAR; HAWAII 335 

"Had they won Brotherhood? Or had they learned 
that the law of love imposed the penalty of weakness and 
decay? Was strife, life! Was the rule of the universe the 
pitiless rule of natural selection V 9 

Some one has written of Jack London: 4 This Lord of 
Life was never far from the consciousness that he held a 
brief and uncertain sovereignty. He himself has said: 

* Man, the latest of the ephemera, is pitifully a creature 
of temperature, strutting out his brief day on the ther 
mometer. " And: "All the human drift, from the first ape- 
man to the last savant, is but a phantom, a flash and a flut 
ter of movement across the infinite sky of the starry night. 
He thrilled to George Sterling s line, "The fleeting Systems 
lapse like foam." 

A couple of months before the "royal progress/ Jack 
had sent in his resignation from the Socialist party, the 
reasons given surprising some of his radical acquaintances 
who had scoffed that he was becoming "soft." 

"Radical!" he would snort, lurching about in his chair, 
"next time I go to New York, I m going to live right 
down in the camp of these people who call themselves radi 
cals. I m going to tell them a few things, and make their 
radicalism look like thirty cents in a fog! I ll show them 
what radicalism is!" 

Among his equipment of notes are the following ad 
dresses : 

The Liberal Club, The Greenwich Village Inn (Polly s 
Restaurant) The Hotel Brevoort, James Donald Corley, 
Hippolyte Havel, Sadakichi Hartmann, Charles and Albert 
Boni, John Rampapas, Hutchins Hapgood, II Proletario, 
J. J. Ettor and Iva Shuster, Carlo Tresca, Arturo Gio- 
vannitti, McSorley s Saloon. 

Jack s action in resigning, though it had been gather 
ing momentum for some time, was precipitated by the with 
drawal of a friend whose reasons were based upon the 
prevalent "roughneck" methods of other than the "well- 



336 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

balanced radicals." I can still hear Jack s battle-tread, 
somewhat muffled by straw slippers, as he marched toward 
my door, and his peremptory voice: "Take a letter 
please!" I can see him plant himself on the edge of 
my bed, curls towsled, wide eyes black with purpose under 
the brows that were like a sea-bird s wings, his full chest 
half-exposed by the blue kimono, and one perfect leg thrust 
forth to steady himself. And here is what he rapped out, 
as fast as I could click the keys : 

Honolulu, March 7, 1916. 
"Glen Ellen, 

"Sonoma County, California. 
"Dear Comrades: 

"I am resigning from the Socialist Party, because of its lack of 
fire and fight, and its loss of emphasis on the class struggle. 

I was originally a member of the old revolutionary, up-on-its- 
hind-legs, fighting, Socialist Labor Party. Since then, and to the 
present time, I have been a fighting member of the Socialist 
Party. My fighting record in the Cause is not, even at this late date, 
already entirely forgotten. Trained in the class struggle, as taught 
and practiced by the Socialist Labor Party, my own highest judg 
ment concurring, I believed that the working class, by fighting, by 
never fusing, by never making terms with the enemy, could emanci 
pate itself. Since the whole trend of Socialism in the United States 
during recent years has been one of peaceableness and compromise, 
I find that my mind refuses further sanction of my remaining a 
party member. Hence my resignation. 

* Please include my comrade wife, Ghanaian K. London s, resig 
nation with mine. 

"My final word is that Liberty, freedom, and independence, are 
royal things that cannot be presented to, nor thrust upon, races 
or classes. If races and classes cannot rise up and by their 
strength of brain and brawn, wrest from the world liberty, free 
dom, and independence, they never in time can come to these royal 
possessions . . . and if such royal things are kindly presented to 
them by superior individuals, on silver platters, they will know 
not what to do with them, will fail to make use of them, and will 




l!)ir>. JACK LONDON 
Taken days before he died 



THE WAR; HAWAII 337 

be what they have always been in the past . . . inferior races and 
inferior classes. 

11 Yours for the Revolution, 

"Jack London/ 1 

i 

The foregoing, published in the Socialist press, caused 
much comment. Jack s grim amusement can be pic 
tured when it was reported that a distinguished mem 
ber of the Party, upon reading it remarked: "I d have done 
the same long ago, for the same reasons, if I had not been 
so prominent a figure in the movement. " 

"And now," I queried, when Jack had got the letter off 
his mind and cooled down, "what will you call yourself 
henceforth Eevolutionist, Socialist, what!" 

"I am not anything, I fear," he said quietly. "I am all 
these things. Individuals disappoint me more and more, 
and more and more I turn to the land. . . . Well," he 
reconsidered, "I might call myself a Syndicalist. It does 
seem as if class solidarity, expressed in terms of the general 
strike, would be the one means of the workers tying up the 
world and getting what they want. It would raise Cain, of 
course, but nothing ever seems to be accomplished without 
raising Cain. A world-wide strike would produce inconceiv 
able results. But they won t stick together there is too 
much selfishness and too much inertia." 

Surely, surely, Jack s experience with the "inertia of 
the masses was not unique in the annals of reform move 
ments. In Doctor William J. Robinson s "The Medical 
Critic and Guide," I come across this sentence: "It is not 
the slave that rebels against his slavery ; it is the free man 
who sees the injustice of slavery who starts the fight for its 
abolition." Other social seers had suffered unto death. I 
could not but pray that the healthier side of Jack s philoso 
phy of life might preserve him from despair. 

Concerning sabotage, he stood somewhat like this: 
Peaceful methods having failed, and with his views on the 



338 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

frightfulness of capitalist exploitation of labor, he would 
not hesitate, were he an underpaid wage-slave, insidiously 
to wreck the machinery of production by the means of which 
he had become the underpaid, underfed, overworked, ex 
ploited tool and fool of his economic masters. But when 
confronted with the futile, desultory methods of bombing 
innocent persons by mistake, his impatience knew no 
bounds. Following one such mishap that had shaken the 
country, I asked him what he thought of it ; and he used a 
word I had never heard in seriousness from his lips : 

i I think it is wicked." 

Many resignations followed Jack s quite an avalanche, 
in fact, when the Socialist Party at the St. Louis Conven 
tion in 1917 pledged itself to oppose, by every means within 
its power, the prosecution of the war against Germany. 

When James Howard Moore, because of heartbreak over 
the world, had put a bullet through his brain, Jack was 
deeply moved. In his handwriting, at the head of a printed 
address delivered by Clarence S. Darrow at the funeral 
services, I find this : 

"Disappointment like what made Wayland (Appeal to 
Reason) kill himself and many like me resign." 

Eeading over the mass of material for this Biography, 
I am struck anew by Jack s old faith in the workingman, 
and anew saddened by his ultimate disillusion. Let me 
quote a letter, written several years before he died, stating 
the nobilities upon which he had founded his hope : 

1 To the Central Labor Council, 
"Alameda County: 

I cannot express to you how deeply I regret my inability to be 
with you this day. But, believe me, I am with you in the brother 
hood of the spirit, as all you boys, in a similar brotherhood of the 
spirit, are with our laundry girls in Troy, New York. 

"Is this not a spectacle for gods and men? the workmen of 
Alameda County sending a share of their hard-earned wages three 



THE WAK; HAWAII 339 

thousand miles across the continent to help the need of a lot of 
striking laundry girls in Troy ! 

"And right here I wish to point out something that you all 
know, but something that is so great that it cannot be pointed out too 
often, and that grows only greater every time it is pointed out, 
AND THAT IS, THAT THE STRENGTH OF ORGANIZED 
LABOR LIES IN ITS BROTHERHOOD. There is no brotherhood 
in unorganized labor, no standing together shoulder to shoulder, 
and as a result unorganized labor is weak as water. 

* And not only does brotherhood give organized labor more fight 
ing strength but it gives it, as well, the strength of righteousness. 
The holiest reason that men can find for drawing together into 
any kind of an organization is BROTHERHOOD. And in the end 
nothing can triumph against such an organization. Let the church 
tell you that servants should obey their masters. This is what the 
church told the striking laundry girls of Troy. Stronger than this 
mandate is brotherhood, as the girls of Troy found out when the 
boys of California shared their wages with them. (Ah, these girls 
of Troy! Twenty weeks on strike and not a single desertion from 
their ranks! And ah, these boys of California, stretching out to 
them, across a continent the helping hand of brotherhood ! ) 

"And so I say, against such spirit of brotherhood, all machina 
tions of the men-of-graft-and-grab-and-the-dollar are futile. 
Strength lies in comradeship and brotherhood, not in a throat-cut 
ting struggle where every man s hand is against man. This com 
radeship and brotherhood is yours. I cannot wish you good luck 
and hope that your strength will grow in the future, because broth 
erhood and the comrade-world are bound to grow. The growth 
cannot be stopped. So I can only congratulate you boys upon the 
fact that this is so. 

"Yours in the brotherhood of man," 

That Jack London expected no glory nor even lasting 
appreciation from his comrades for his life-long work in 
the interests of Socialism, was evident to me early in our 
association. It was with utter absence of bitterness that 
he said: 

"In a few years the crowd I have worked for and with, 



340 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

the Socialists, will have entirely forgotten that a fellow 
named Jack London ever did a stroke to help along. I shall 
be entirely forgotten, or counted out, or, at best, merely 
mentioned. 7 

And when, even in his own short time he had proved his 
own words, in spite of a cool intellectual attitude he showed 
the hurt to his affections. There is bitterness and to spare, 
though essentially toward the race of men who had dis 
appointed his warm confidence, in the following, already 
referred to in part, written in his last months for a Socialist 
publication : 

"Some years ago Alexander Berkman asked me to write an 
introduction to his Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist. This is the 
introduction. I was naive enough to think that when one intellect 
ual disagreed with another intellectual the only difference would 
be intellectual. I have since learned better. Alexander Berkman 
could not see his way to using my introduction, and got some one 
else to write a more sympathetic one for him. Also, socially, com 
radely, he has forgotten my existence ever since. 

"By the same token, because the socialists and I disagreed 
about opportunism, ghetto politics, class consciousness, political 
slates, and party machines, they, too, have dismissed all memory, 
not merely of my years of fight in the cause, but of me as a social 
man, as a comrade of men, as a fellow they ever embraced for hav 
ing at various times written or said things they described as 
doughty blows for the Cause. On the contrary, by their only 
printed utterances I have seen, they deny I ever struck a blow or 
did anything for the Cause, at the same time affirming that all the 
time they knew me for what I was a Dreamer. 

"I m afraid I did dream some dreams about their brains, 
which now I find knocked into a cocked hat by their possession of 
the pitiful humanness that is the birthright of all sons of men. 
My dream was that my comrades were intellectually honest. My 
awakening was that they were as unfair, when prejudice entered, 
as all the other human cattle entered to-day in the human race. 

There are some of Jack s compeers who do not forget, 
who give him his place, and a high place. And there are 



THE WAE; HAWAII 341 

others who, perceiving him nurse his efficiency by decent 
living after his too-lean years, became fearful that he might 
lose his head through worldly success, but held judg 
ment and were rewarded for their openmindedness. One 
socialist, not fussing as to whether Jack belonged to the 
Socialist Party, or any party, had this to say: "He was one 
of us. A genuine, strenuous American, he fought a good 
fight in the sacred cause of human progress. Against the 
predatory Big Interests attempt to enslave the workers 
and the Booze Interests attempt to degrade the workers, 
his pen was a mighty weapon. Like a true comrade he died 
fighting. Alas, my Comrade !" But sadly enough I note 
that only too often his name is missing from the roster that 
includes his intellectual friends such as Walling, Spargo, 
Hunter, Stokes, Heron. 

Jack s especial bete noir was the type of socialist, of 
either sex, who heckled him because he declined to lecture 
before small groups. Wasted upon these hecklers was his 
argument that with a stroke of his pen, while following tem 
peramental bents in manner of living, he could reach 
millions, whereas his voice could be heard by but a few. 
This being so, he did not see why he should misapply energy 
by speaking to a few, when he so disliked public appear 
ances. Further, reports of his speeches were almost invari 
ably garbled. His gospel as propounded in his books was 
not garbled. Ergo, and finally, he would write rather than 
talk. Incidentally, his voice had gone back on him, so that 
it became husky at any attempt to project it into large 
spaces. Far from regretting this break-down in his 
anatomy, he hailed it with frank delight as another ex 
cuse from lecturing. The failure of his throat was pre 
cipitated, happily enough, by an excess of laughter at the 
Bohemian Jinks. He had returned unable for a while to 
speak above a faint wheeze, the vocal cords ruptured 
forever. 

He would add that he had done his share of platform 



342 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

work, and why not step out and let the younger generation 
have a chance. Here is his somewhat impatient reply to a 
suppliant who had tried sarcasm upon him : 

1 Dear Comrade: 

"In reply to yours of September 14. I don t see anything to 
laugh at. With courtesy and consideration, on an average of five 
letters a day, I turn down propositions of comrades that run all 
the way from gold mines to perpetual motion. I sent you what 
I thought was a fair, courteous, sweet-natured and comradely let 
ter. If you choose to laugh at that letter and me why, go to it ! 
I, however, am very sorry that you should laugh. 

"You say you had hoped that your letter would have inspired 
me to nobler things (those are your words) . What nobler things? 
to attend a meeting at your place which you say nobody attended ? 
To put money in your project and raise for you a temporary fund, 
when I am worrying over my own overdue life-insurance? FOP 
heaven s sake, dear woman, be fair, play fair, and get away from 
your own self-centering long enough to remember that all the 
others in the world may not be persuaded nor clubbed into fol 
lowing your immediate lead and desire, and that because they are 
not to be so persuaded nor clubbed is no license for you to laugh 

at them * Yours for the Revolution, 

Much earlier than that, in answer to a call that he could 
not afford, he had written : 

1 i It s this way : I feel that I have done and am doing a pretty 
fair share of work for the Revolution. I guess my lectures alone 
before Socialist organizations have netted the Cause a few hundred 
dollars, and my wounded feelings from the personal abuse of the 
Capitalist papers ought to be rated at several hundred more. There 
is not a day passes that I am not reading up socialism and filing 
socialistic clippings and notes. The amount of work that I in a 
year contribute to the cause of socialism would earn me a whole 
lot of money if spent in writing fiction for the market." 

It is not remarkable, however, that Jack London was 
much misinterpreted by the general run of men lost in 



THE WAR; HAWAII 343 

pettifogging. He would not even be circumscribed by his 
broadest conceptions, if I may be allowed a paradox. And 
there was where he invited trouble with economists, who 
wanted him to be what they called consistent. The many 
sparkling facets of his mind dazzled and befuddled merely 
average thought processes. I speak with feeling. Some 
times we would battle for hours, he and I, earnestly, hotly, 
because, although I was doing the best I knew how, he was 
thinking so far beyond the logic of ordinary mortals who 
think they think. " Don t you seel Can t you get it?" he 
would almost wail in ardor and onrush to convince. And 
we would metaphorically roll up our sleeves and go at it 
hammer and tongs. To me, who was more "kin" to him 
than the rest, he declined to "mute his trumpets. His own 
woman must speak his language. And then, suddenly, out 
would slip some little key-word he had unwittingly left 
unsaid, the door would fly open, and I would seem to drop a 
thousand light-years in space, alighting softly, happily, yet 
excessively puzzled at last by the cosmic simplicity of his 
reasoning. 

In logic he bowed to no one. His supple mind that 
never stiffened from disuse was of a clarity that allowed of 
no master. He but grasped and applied the conclusions of 
Master-minds, used them in the mosaic of his own. Yet 
here is a curious thing : In his dreams, at widely separated 
intervals, appeared the Man who would contest Jack s self- 
mastership, to whom he would eventually bend a vanquished 
intelligence. He never met such an one in the flesh, yet that 
entity stalked through more than the hallucinations of sleep. 
It was long ago he first told me of this ominous figure in his 
consciousness. The last manifestation was within a very 
few years of his death. The man, imperial, inexorable with 
destiny, yet strangely human, descended, alone, a vast cas 
cade of stairways, and Jack, at the foot, looked up and 
waited as imperially for the meeting that was to be his 
unknown fate. But the Nemesis never, in that form at least, 



344 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

overtook him. Was it Death ? Or may it have been a reflec 
tion of his own most exalted self that he came face to face 
with at these times 1 There showed a certain pathos in his 
accounts. I do not think he had yet brought his inklings of 
psychoanalysis to bear upon his interpretations. 

What gifts Jack had for all who could see and hear! 
But the world is prone to look askance at gifts that are 
tendered freely, without price. And what he offered was so 
open-handed, so open-hearted. He never wore nor waved a 
flag his flags, his colors, were in his eyes, streamed from 
his pen, and waved from his printed page. Every one who 
tried to understand him was better for it. When persons 
say, "I never met him," I can only return, "I am sorry. " 
If it was a privilege to know his work, it was a greater privi 
lege to know himself, if ever so slightly, for he was greater 
than his work. He had few enemies among those who came 
into personal contact with him. With all his self-knowledge, 
for the most part in social dealings he preserved that uncon 
sciousness of self which is above modesty, yet which spells 
modesty to the casual observer. And no matter how firmly 
he believed himself right, fought for it, shouted it, he also 
respected a similar belief existing in his opponent. This 
charity, however, had been sorely taxed during earlier 
years, by dark and helpless souls incapable alike of clear 
reasoning or appreciating his superiority ; hence his impa 
tience with inconsequential minds. But with the majority 
of acquaintances, no frown of his, no stern word, ever out 
weighed the morning of his smile, that beautiful smile that 
lured the bitterest antagonist under his charm. 

Much non-understanding arose from the misleading 
habit of others in quoting his isolated opinions without 
context, deleting them of the vital connotations that his 
catholicity brought to ripe consideration of any theme. 
Only a few of his fellows could anticipate or supply the 
thousand factors embodied in his thought. Myself, I learned 
to hesitate before leaping to conclusions, to wait for the 



THE WAK; HAWAII 345 

full drift. Just about the time, say, that Jack would begin 
to sink into lowest disheartenment over the abysmal sig 
nificance of the War, and our failure to bear a hand, all at 
once he would flame anew to the undying wonder of the 
human. A case in point arose when Hall Caine wrote him 
from London, asking a contribution for the "King Albert 
Book. Jack responded : 

"Belgium is rare, Belgium is unique. Among men arises on rare 
occasions a great man, a man of cosmic import ; among nations on 
rare occasions arises a great nation, a nation of cosmic import. Such 
a nation is Belgium. Such is the place Belgium attained in a day 
by one mad, magnificent, heroic leap into the azure. As long as 
the world rolls and men live, that long will Belgium be re 
membered. All the human world passes, and will owe Belgium a 
debt of gratitude, such as was never earned by any nation in the 
History of Nations. It is a magnificent debt, a proud debt that all 
the nations of men will sacredly acknowledge. 

Yet the very sending of the foregoing from Oakland 
brought him face to face again with human smallness. He 
thought to see if the cable company would share in the 
tribute by standing half the expense of the message. They 
politely declined, and Jack shrugged his habitual " Cheap 
at the price to learn them, under such circumstances. 

The murder of Edith Cavell, 

". . . a simple English nurse, 
Slaughtered between a challenge and a curse," 

snapped something in Jack. Eyes and soul full of this and 
the rest of the mad slaughter, he became more and more 
furious with the brutal stupidity of the Hun. He lingered 
in almost speechless wonder over the monstrous bestiality 
of German cartoons, in nearly all of which lay a boomerang 
unguessed by that same bungling stupidity. 

He did not believe this to be a capitalistic war, but that 
it was being waged for a principle at its best, and must be 



346 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

fought to the death. He would have stamped his approval, 
I know, upon the irreduceable minimum " of peace terms, 
and Mr. Balfour s deliverance: "Next to being enslaved by 
Germany, there is no worse thing than being liberated 
by her." 

Jack would refer to Germany as the "Mad Dog of 
Europe. " 

"I am with the allies life and death. Germany to-day 
is a paranoiac. She has the mad person s idea of her own 
ego, and the delusion of persecution she thinks all nations 
are against her. She possesses also the religious mania 
she thinks God is on her side. These are the very com 
monest forms of insanity, but never before in history has a 
whole nation gone insane." 

"God help them when the British turn savage!" he 
cried at the first rumor of hostilities. His opinion of the 
country has been very adequately expressed by one who 
fought in France : i Germany has no honor, no chivalry, no 
mercy. Germany is a bad sportsman. Germans fight like 
wolves in a pack, and without initiative or resource if 
compelled to fight singly." 

A hundred times I have heard Jack say: "It will be a 
war of attrition." He saw no abrupt termination, no 
brilliant, decisive victory. But for the Armistice, he might 
have been proven right. He was also heard to say that he 
believed the nations would eventually repudiate their war 
debts. 

The Pathe Exchange wrote on June 16, asking his views 
upon the meaning of the World War, and this was his reply : 

"I believe the World War so far as concerns, not individuals 
but the entire race of man, is good. 

* The World War has compelled man to return from the cheap 
and easy lies of illusion to the brass tacks and iron facts of reality. 
It is not good for man to get too high up in the air above reality. 

* The World War has redeemed from the fat and gross material- 



THE WAR; HAWAII 347 

ism of generations of peace, and caught mankind up in a blaze of 
the spirit. 

"The World War has been a pentecostal cleansing of the spirit 
of man." 

Another of his public utterances: 

"I believe intensely in the Pro-Ally side of the war. I believe 
that the foundation of civilization rests on the pledge, the agree 
ment, and the contract. I believe that the present war is being 
fought out to determine whether or not men in the future may 
continue in a civilized way to depend upon the word, the pledge, 
the agreement, and the contract. 

"As regards a few million terrible deaths, there is not so 
much of the terrible about such a quantity of deaths as there is 
about the quantity of deaths that occur in peace times in all 
countries in the world, and that has occurred in war times in 
the past. 

"Civilization at the present time is going through a Pente 
costal cleansing that can result only in good for mankind. " 

That none may misconstrue the central paragraph, 
but may know upon what the assertion was based, I append 
this item from the Scientific American : 

"Industrial accidents cost this country 35,000 human lives and 
many millions of dollars annually, according to the Arizona State 
Safety News. In addition, dismemberments and other serious in 
juries total about 350,000 yearly, while the annual number of 
minor accidents, causing loss of time, exceeds 2,000,000." 

It is interesting, while on the War, to quote his disagree 
ment, when a youth, with David Starr Jordan : 

" There is something wrong with Dr. Jordan s war 
theory, which is to the effect that, the best being sent out 
to war, only the second best, the men who are left, remain 
to breed a second-best race, and that, therefore, the human 
race deteriorates under war. If this be so, if we have sent 
forth the best we bred and gone on breeding from the men 
who were left, and since we have done this for ten thousand 



348 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

milleniums and are what we splendidly are to-day, then 
what unthinkably splendid and god-like beings must have 
been our forebears those ten thousand milleniums ago. 
Unfortunately for Dr. Jordan s theory, these forebears can 
not live up to this fine reputation. " 

His full emotions toward the United States in with 
holding help from 

". . . the embattled hosts that kept 
Their pact with freedom while we slept!" 

are expressed in a telegram sent in reply to a New York 
daily asking his choice at election time, and of which I have 
no record that the paper dared print it : 

"I have no choice for President. Wilson has not enamored me 
with past performances. Hughes has not enamored me with the 
promise of future performances. There is nothing to hope from 
ether of them, except that they will brilliantly guide the United 
States down her fat, helpless, lonely, unhonorable, profit-seeking 
way to the shambles to which her shameless unpreparedness is lead 
ing her. The day is all too near when any first power or any two 
one-horse powers can stick her up and bleed her bankrupt. We 
stand for nothing except fat. We are become the fat man of the 
nations, whom no nation loves. My choice for President is Theo 
dore Roosevelt, whom nobody in this fat land will vote for because 
he exalts honor and manhood over the cowardice and peace loving- 
ness of the worshipers of fat. 

To Henry Meade Bland, a month before his death Jack 
wrote : 

"I am inclosing you herewith a clipping about * Martin Eden. 
Martin Eden, and The Sea Wolf a long time before Martin 
Eden/ were protests against the philosophy of Nietzsche, insofar 
as the Nietzschean philosophy expounds strength and individualism, 
even to the extent of war and destruction, against cooperation, 
democracy, and socialism. Here is the world war, the logical out 
come of the Nietzschean philosophy. 

Read both these books yourself to get my point of view. Also 



THE WAR; HAWAII 349 

make note that no reviewer ever got my point of view in those two 
books, and that this is the first time I have ever shouted my point 
of view in those two books." 

The theory of alternate eras of Evolution and Dissolu 
tion fought with his work for the human. Yet, casting back 
into the hopelessness of the ages, citing fourteen cities built 
one atop another, and all lapsed, gone, with their pomp and 
circumstance yet, I say, Jack suffered unendurably over 
the Great War, and perished in the midst of his deepest of 
all Great Disgusts because of America s " Safety First 7 
policy that held us from protesting even the Belgian atro 
cities. We blunder along. The times blunder along. His 
tory-making blunders along. And he saw the blundering 
way of the race. 

His main comfort throughout that Armageddon was his 
Anglo-Saxonism, his pride in England in the conduct of her 
" popular" war. How he would have rejoiced in the invin 
cible combination of American man-power and British sea- 
power! I am exasperated all the time, consciously and 
unconsciously, that he is not alive and quick, to function in 
the gigantic tangle of world events growing out of the 
war to see his own prognostications taking shape, and to 
lend a hand in the reconstruction. Indeed, it is hard to 
write calmly of this creature who strove so manfully for the 
great and simple integrities of human intercourse, looking 
as he did far through and beyond the small, petty thing of 
the moment. Always, while responding to the little tragical 
affairs of men, he could but compare these with the big, 
cosmic facts and dreams that lured him on. This verse, by 
I know not whom, so well envisages the Jack London whom 
I knew : 

Your stark vision and cold fire, 

Your singing truth, your vehement desire 

To cut through lies to life. 

These move behind the printed echoes here, 

The paper strife, 



350 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

The scurry of small pens about your name, 
Measuring, praising, blaming by the same 
Tight rule of thumb that makes their own 
Inadequacy known. 

How often I start up to share with him the very things 
he so missed and would love to know from the lips of fellow 
authors. "He was an honest writer, " says an Englishman. 
That would have pleased him above all things. And an 
other: "A strong and virile writer of clean prose robust, 
honest, straightforward, and an artist. " Berton Braley s 
i t He never struck a ribald note, calls to mind a conversa 
tion in Honolulu. Alexander Hume Ford exclaimed: 

1 But, Jack, you have never written anything smutty 
you Ve done almost everything else ! He had meant to 
be facetious, but in a flash Jack was all gravity : 

"No! and I never shall. I have never yet written 
a line for print that I would be ashamed for my two little 
girls who are growing up to see and read, and I never 
shall I" 

To me he would say : l When I swear my worst, I really 
don t mean it only words, letting off steam. But when you 
say Damn! you are positively evil in your ferocity! 
Wicked woman ! 

Never shall I forget his indignation, too vast for any 
expletives at his command, when a minister of the Gospel 
wrote him that his novel "The Little Lady of the Big 
House" was unclean, unfit for the youth of America to 
read. "Show me!" he raged, "where there is a line in that 
book unfit for any young man or woman to read!" 
Hard upon this accusation came a book-review in a con 
servative New England monthly, employing the most extra 
ordinary nomenclature to interpret the alleged pruriency of 
the book. Jack could not contain his ire, but started a battle 
royal with the sons of Adam who had in his opinion so 
degenerated as not to know clean frankness when they saw 



THE WAE; HAWAII 351 

it. There is no telling where the controversy might have 
fetched up, had he lived. "I ve given over sitting back and 
listening to gross misinterpretation of my clean and healthy 
motives," he said with smoldering eyes. "It is like mali 
cious slander, and whenever it appears I am going after it 
and knock off its ugly head in the open ! " 

How does the foregoing comport with this : * * He was an 
uplift to the young. The world is better and purer for his 
having lived an inspiration to thousands of men and 
women to work and keep on working, to create and keep on 
creating, to live the full life wherever they are or whatever 
may be their work." 

My copy of "The Little Lady of the Big House," dated 
three months before Jack died, carries this inscription : 

"The years pass. You and I pass. But yet our love abides 
more firmly, more deeply, more surely, for we have built our love 
for each other, not upon the sand, but upon the rock. 

* Your Lover-Husband. 

In the last weeks of his life, that was often the bur 
den of his talk with me the firm foundation of the house 
of love we had builded in the decade of our close com 
panionship. So, in my memories of that year of unusual 
vicissitudes in our fortunes, the warm and deathless love- 
message in his hand in "The Little Lady of the Big House" 
is a rock of ages, made yet more immovable by the declara 
tion in Jack s next volume. i The Turtles of Tasman, the 
last he ever was to hold in his fingers : 

"After it all, and it all, and it all, here we are, all in all, all in 
all. 

Sometimes I just want to get up on top of Sonoma Mountain 
and shout to the world about you and me. Arms ever around and 
around, 

"Mate-Man." 
"The Ranch, 
"Oct. 6, 1916." 



CHAPTER XL 

THE LAST SUMMER 
1916 

UPON returning from Hawaii in August, Jack went 
about making plans to get away to New York three 
months thence. His contract with Mr. Hearst was due to 
expire at the end of another year, and he wished to be 
timely in reconnoitering the market. His requirements, 
looking toward ranch expansion and rehabilitating the red 
ruins of the Wolf House, were not diminishing. From 
Honolulu he had urged his sister to gather the materials ; 
but she has ever since contended that something more than 
want of funds held her back. The second cutting of logs 
had long been seasoning. There was what I can only call a 
telepathic impulse that had more than once warned her 
when all was not well with Jack a sudden intuition that he 
was ill or in difficulties. She had not failed in this present 
instance, and I knew, when her eyes rested upon his telltale 
face at the dock, that some premonition had been verified. 
Jack s secretary, his sister Ida s widower, after Jack s 
death reported that Eliza had said that day : 

"Our Jack has not come back to us." 

When in Honolulu, he had first broached the New York 
trip, my unexpected decision to remain at home disquieted 
him as much as had my intention to go alone to the Islands 
on the occasion of his projected Fleet trip through the 
Canal. 

"At least," he urged, "don t quite make up your mind 
that you are not going with me. Give it more thought. " 

352 



THE LAST SUMMER 353 

I had been seized with determination that was not to be 
resisted, to revise old Hawaiian notes into the companion 
book of my "Log of the Snark," and knew beyond question 
that there could never be time nor strength to give to it un 
less Jack were absent. When he had gone to a farther port, 
never to return, a railroad ticket for New York, dated for 
just a week after his death, lay upon the roll-top desk 
beside his work-table. But he had not been happy about 
my consistent refusal to accompany him. 

August 9 to 13 he spent at Bohemian Grove, bringing 
home George Sterling and James Hopper. On the 17th he 
finished a short story begun on the steamer, * * The Kanaka 
Surf," and before leaving for the State Fair on Septem 
ber 3, had completed another, "When Alice Told Her 
Soul," both included in "On the Makaloa Mat." 

In "When Alice Told Her Soul," underlying its rollick 
ing humor, Jack evidences that his feet had crossed the 
threshold of psychoanalytical understanding, and it is 
fascinating to note, in Jung s "Psychology of the Uncon 
scious," marked passages showing the concepts that 
quickened Jack s imagination to express itself in that tale. 
Knowing what I already knew of Jack s last days, it was 
wonderful to check up this knowledge by the aid of those 
markings. It was my privilege to have the guidance of a 
pupil of Jung s, our friend Mary Wilshire. Here is an 
underlined section: 

"The possession of a subjectively important secret generally 
creates a disturbance." 

"It may be said that the whole art of life shrinks to the one 
problem of how the libido may be freed in the most harmless way 
possible. Therefore, the neurotic derives special benefit in treat 
ment when he can at last rid himself of its various secrets." 

Upon this Jack based his picture of the woman strug 
gling to free her soul from a life-long accumulation of 



354 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

secrets which led her to the confessional of a mongrel Billy 
Sunday type of evangelist. 

In the last story ever written by this master of the short 
story, "The Water Baby," completed on October 2, the 
theme is more subtly presented through the medium of 
Hawaiian mythology. Throughout Dr. Jung s chapter on 
"Symbolism of Mother and Rebirth," there are penciled 
indications of Jack s grasp of the meaning of folk-lore and 
mythology of recorded time. Also the comprehension of 
how to raise lower desires to higher expressions. He has 
underscored Jesus s challenge to Nicodemus, cited by Jung : 

"Think not carnally or thou art carnal, but think sym 
bolically and then thou art spirit." 

"The Water Baby" is clearly a symbolic representa 
tion of the Rebirth, the return to the Mother, exemplified by 
the arguments of the old Hawaiian Kohokumi. A similar 
chord is struck in the following paragraph from Jung s 
book, indicated by Jack: 

"The blessed state of sleep before birth and after birth 
is, as Joel observed, something like old shadowy memories 
of that unsuspecting thoughtless state of early childhood, 
where as yet no opposition disturbed the peaceful flow of 
dawning life, to which the inner longing always draws us 
back again and again, and from which the active life must 
free itself anew with struggle and death, so that it may not 
be doomed to destruction. Long before Joel, an Indian 
Chief, had said the same thing in similar words to one of 
the restless wis-e men : * Ah, my brother, you will never learn 
to know the happiness of thinking nothing and doing noth 
ing; this is next to sleep; this is the most delightful thing 
there is. Thus we were before birth ; thus we shall be after 
death. " 

Even in "Like Argus of the Ancient Times," written in 
the first half of September, is exhibited, in the "Freudian 
dream" of old Tarwater, as he faces extinction in the Arctic 
forest, the influence of Jack s probings into the stuff of 



THE LAST SUMMER 355 

the psyche. And to the lighter reader, I call attention to 
the fact that Jack himself walks across some of the pages 
as young Liverpool. 

Jack s emphasis upon the primitive elements in life did 
not emanate from the fact that his readers especially 
wanted it, because upon this point he was in conflict from 
first to last, tooth and nail, with editors and reviewers. He 
was thorough, that is all. It can easily be seen how 
his early instinctive use of the methods of psychoanalysis 
abetted this thoroughness in seeking for the noumenon of 
things, the better to reveal the process by which man has 
become what he is to-day. Look in "Before Adam" and 
"The Star Rover," again to find evidence of his knowing 
how important a part is played in our lives by old, 
primal emotions, long thought extinct. To him the work of 
Freud and Jung and others of the school presented a psy 
chological-philosophical key to the "understanding and 
practical advancement of human life" which leads to syn 
thetic evaluation of human endeavor. It was inevitable 
that his brain, which was both analytic and synthetic, should 
first take hold of the analytic half of psychological under 
standing and quite as inevitably pass into the synthetic 
half which forms the whole of psychological understanding. 
With quick, incisive mind he apprehended the scope of the 
Freudian method in contemplation of the material thus 
acquired, and then with Jung moved on into the realm of 
cosmic urge of which man s psychic energy is a part. 

A man of Jack London s fearless quality, who prized 
truth at its proper worth, could but accord a royal welcome 
to any form of philosophy which offered to render knowl 
edge more complete. His was "the character and intelli 
gence which makes it possible for him to submit himself to 
a facing of his naked soul, and to the pain and suffering 
which this often entails." This, from Dr. Beatrice Hinkle s 
Introduction to Jung s book, Jack had heavily underlined. 
To face his naked soul he dared to the uttermost, but that 



356 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

was not new with him. It was the old tragedy that began 
with his earliest gropings. Yet see, in another marked 
passage, how in his loneliness he realized himself as brother 
to all other human beings : 

11 To those who have been able to recognize their own 
weakness and have suffered in the privacy of their own 
souls, the knowledge that these things have not set them 
apart from others, but that they are the common property 
of all and that no one can point the finger of scorn at his 
fellow, is one of the greatest experiences of life and is 
productive of the greatest relief. " 

"My one great weakness, " Jack once wrote to Cloudes- 
ley Johns, "is the study of human nature. " And when 
human nature through its repressions baffled discernment, 
he suffered inexpressibly. He had us bared to the quick 
those last days. After a set-to with his sister, on ranch 
questions, or personal ones growing out of controversy, he 
cried, trying to pierce her brain : 

"Pd give my right hand to know what you are really 
thinking of me ! 

And to me, in privacy, after I had been almost overreach 
ing myself in self -illumination once or twice, alack, goaded 
even to resentment lie would grit out, intensely, with a 
gesture of despair: 

"You tell me this and you tell me that, and you state 
your reasons. But your true inner impulsions are withheld 
in spite of yourself. Close as we are, you and I, hard as 
we strive to give ourselves to each other, the old reticences 
remain, repressing the utmost revelation. You do your best. 
It is not enough. Can t you see, oh, my dear, can t you let 
go completely, and let me see the real you that I want to 
fathom? ... I d give my soul to know what you are 
actually thinking ! 

But when, in sudden unasked circumstances, our minds 
came together in almost superhuman enlightenment, the 
man was caught up into a supreme and wondrous exalta- 



THE LAST SUMMER 357 

tion. I can only think that to sustain such heights one must 
needs seek a new world in which to live ! 

Bead this section of Dr. Hinkle s Introduction, which, 
noted by Jack, throws light upon the struggle extraordi 
nary which he was making to come breast to breast with 
us in mental sympathy: 

" There is frequently expressed among people the idea 
of how fortunate it is that we cannot see each other s 
thoughts, and how disturbing it would be if our real feelings 
could be read. But what is so shameful in these secrets of 
the soul? They are in reality our own egotistic desires, all 
striving, longing, wishing for satisfaction, for happiness; 
those desires which instinctively crave their own gratifica 
tion, but which can only be really fulfilled by adapting them 
to the real world and to the social group. 

"The value of self-consciousness lies in the fact that man 
is enabled to reflect upon himself and learn to understand 
the true origin and significance of his actions and opinions, 
that he may adequately value the real level of his develop 
ment and avoid being self -deceived and therefore inhibited 
from finding his biological adaptation. He need no longer 
be unconscious of the motives underlying his actions or hide 
himself behind a changed exterior, in other words, be merely 
a series of reactions to stimuli, as the mechanists have it, 
but he may to a certain extent become a self-creating and 
self-determining being." 

I shall never cease to remember the day when, all a-tip- 
toe with discovery, Jack entered the dining room, slipped 
into his chair and repeated the foregoing italicized sentence. 
I, knowing his theretofore immovable position regarding 
free will, sat aghast at the implication upon his tongue. At 
length : 

"Do you realize what you are saying? What you are 
implying ?" 

"I know how you feel how surprised you are," he an 
swered. "But it almost would seem that I can grasp, from 



358 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

this, some sort of inkling of free will. I ll explain further 
we will read together. 

Bear with me, in fairness to a comprehension of the 
point Jack London, as an individual, a member of society, 
and an artist, had reached when he descended "into the 
dark," while I quote a few, so very few of the many, marked 
sentences from Dr. Hinkle s introduction : 

He, Jung, saw in the term libido a concept of unknown nature, 
comparable with Bergson s elan vital, a hypothetical energy of life, 
which occupies itself not only in sexuality but in various physio 
logical and psychological manifestations such as growth, develop 
ment, hunger and all the human activities and interests. This 
cosmic energy or urge manifested in the human being he calls 
libido and compares it with the energy of physics. Although recog 
nizing, in common with Freud as well as with many others, the 
primal instinct of reproduction as the basis of many functions and 
present-day activities of mankind no longer sexual in character, 
he repudiates the idea of still calling them sexual, even though 
their development was a growth originally out of the sexual. 
Sexuality and its various manifestations Jung sees as most im 
portant channels occupied by libido, but not the exclusive ones 
through which libido flows. 

"In this achievement lies the hopeful and valuable side of this 
method the development of the synthesis. " 

" an absolute truth and an absolute honesty. * 

" the often quite unbearable conflict of his weaknesses with 
his feelings of idealism." 

"The importance of this instinct (sexual) upon human life is 
clearly revealed by the great place given to it under the name of 
love in art, literature, poetry, romance and all beauty from the 
beginning of recorded time." 

I was convinced that no mortal frame could out-last 
the terrific strain Jack was putting upon his own. Some 
thing had to break. And one can only give thanks forever 
that it was the body. That was the lesser sacrifice. 

At this late date there rises out of my mind, quite 
humbly, the question as to whether certain independent 



THE LAST SUMMER 359 

manifestations of myself to which he had been unaccus 
tomed, were upsetting Jack more than he cared to voice as 
notably my insistence, in face of his dissatisfaction, upon 
remaining at home alone to do work of my own. I have come 
to see it as an inevitable self -liberation after an association 
that had held me like one enchanted, my faculties paralyzed 
in every function except as toward him and what of assist 
ance I could be to him. If, as may have been the truth, my 
ego was unconsciously making effort to win to itself, it was 
probably due to the impetus of the tuition Jack s superior 
ego had contributed. I am only trying to clear up phe 
nomena that it now seems might have been more or less por 
tentous to him, and the inner meaning of which he was 
bending every nerve to discover. 

"For the first time in my life," he remarked one day, 
"I see the real value to the human soul of the confessional." 

The effect of this budding impetus in me did not ter 
minate with the termination of his dominating personality. 
It went marching on, evident in the most amazing ways. 
Instead of still requiring, in order to go on, that superb 
domination under which I had so loved to dwell, suddenly 
I stood free, an ambitious, sure soul for the first time, al 
most unrecognizable to friends and self, bent upon making 
the best of that self and its remaining span upon earth; 
this, if only to prove its appreciation of the gifts that had 
been bestowed upon it, in the discharge of its tender obli 
gation to the one who had gone. Life-long, inherited in 
somnia fell from me, and nights were none too long to 
compass the rejuvenation that was mine, and that prepared 
me for each looking-forward day of the many days of hard 
work which had descended upon my willing shoulders. No 
task, in contemplation, discouraged even the most exact 
ing, this Biography. 

It hardly matters that I am ahead of my story, inasmuch 
as the events immediately preceding and succeeding Jack s 
death are all of a piece. 



360 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Closely following his passing "into the Silence/ on 
every hand speaking evidence of his thought and achieve 
ment, even lacking the maturer masterpieces we shall never 
know, it came to me this way : 

"It seems clear that there was no limit to his mind. 
Could he have lived, that cerebration would have gone on 
and on, stretching incredibly, interminably, no bounds to 
its elasticity in every direction. It was enormous. " 

This to George Sterling, sad beyond despair above his 
friend s "holy ashes. " And he repeated after me: 

There was no limit to his mind. It was enormous. 

Jack was so tired that hot evening we arrived at Sacra 
mento, September 3, that he went to bed after dinner in 
stead of joining Mrs. Shepard at the Fair. We were hardly 
ready to "turn in" when a general fire-alarm called us to 
the hotel window, and in the direction of the Fair Grounds 
we could see the flames rising. 

"It s the Exhibition going up, all right," Jack said, 
peering through the glare for the towers of the buildings. 

"But aren t you going to dress and drive out to see if 
the stock is safe Neuadd and the rest?" I asked, surprised 
at his lack of excitement. 

"Oh, no Eliza s there, or will get there, and she ll do 
everything that can be done." 

And surely enough, his indomitable superintendent, al 
ready bound back to the hotel, had turned about and some 
how bluffed her way through the cordon of police thrown 
about the place, and marshaled our stockmen to convey her 
precious charges to an unthreatened open space. 

As before written, she and Jack had disagreed upon 
the question of showing animals, at least thus early in the 
establishment of his reputation as a stockbreeder. But 
having seen, upon his return from the Islands, the prime 
state of his beasts which she had ready for the journey, he 
had relented, admitted her standpoint, and was loyally on 



THE LAST SUMMER 361 

hand to see them win. That they did; and no one, even 
Eliza, so proud as he with his handful of gold medals and 
blue and gold ribbons to prove that the Jack London Ranch 
was "on the right track." 

But not with his own eyes did he behold our proud grand 
champions carry off their honors. Only the one day after 
arrival was he able to leave the hotel, for he was obliged 
to keep to bed for eight days with a session of rheumatism 
in his left ankle. Fortunately the torture was intermittent, 
or it would have been unbearable without a hypodermic. 
As it was, the doctor had to prescribe powders for the 
worst nights, or there would have been no rest for either 
of us. I went out of the house but three times, and then 
to buy books for the invalid, who seemed not to want me 
out of his sight. 

In the longer pauses between recurrences of grinding 
misery that drenched the poor boy with sweat, we made 
genuinely merry over games of pinochle and cribbage, and 
read aloud, turn about; or he entertained callers, while I 
gently rubbed the ankle by the hour. Often I could put 
the sufferer to sleep by this means. Evenings, from the 
window, Jack enjoyed following the starry trail of Boquel s 
aeroplane flights. 

For once, stung alert by pain, he was seriously anxious 
about the future as regarded bodily comfort. i Although, if 
I became permanently crippled, I ll have endless time in 
bed to do all the reading I can never get around to, and be 
the happiest fellow that ever came down the pike," he 
grinned with native paradox. But I noticed that he did 
not hasten that glad day by disobeying the physician, who 
told him he was in a precarious state and must mend his 
diet and work off some of his excess fat. He weighed in the 
neighborhood of one hundred and ninety-four pounds. 

So all toothsome fleshpots were missing from the tray, 
while I was pressed to invent salad dressings and suggest 
the most tempting vegetable dishes. 



362 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Upon one especially precious day, when we two were 
reviewing our long run of years together, calling up memo 
ries sacred to our companionship, I asked Jack if he could 
remember a sweet thing, the idea of which, coming from him, 
had astonished me one day in Honolulu. I challenged : 

"I ll wager anything you say, that you cannot repeat it 
just as you said it. 

4 Which sweet thing?" he came back; " There were 
many, if I remember aright. I 11 subscribe to it, whatever it 
was, even if I can t remember it ! Be kind, though, and give 
me a tip ! " 

When I had done so, he said very soberly: 

Yes, I not only remember and subscribe to it, but I can 
repeat it word for word. I told you : If I should go into the 
dark, and wake again which I do not for a moment expect 
to do but if I should open my eyes again, yours would be 

the first face I should want them to rest upon ! And I 

mean it, Mate Woman. I surrender to you, you are the 

only one. Ask me for something that I can do for 

you!" 

I have no personal evidence that Jack did not die a firm 
unbeliever in any hereafter materialist monist to the end. 
In a story, "The Eternity of Forms," included in "The 
Turtles of Tasman" collection, he has given his lifelong 
confession of faith, "simple, brief, unanswerable": 

* I assert, with Hobbes, that it is impossible to separate thought 
from matter that thinks. I assert, with Bacon, that all human un 
derstanding arises from the world of sensations. I assert, with 
Locke, that all human ideas are due to the functions of the senses. 
I assert, with Kant, the mechanical origin of the universe, and that 
creation is a natural and historical process. I assert, with Laplace, 
that there is no need of the hypothesis of a creator. And, finally, 
I assert, because of all the foregoing, that form is ephemeral. 
Form passes. Therefore we pass." 

Two years before his death, he had more briefly stated 
his old position in a letter to a young socialist in Chicago : 



THE LAST SUMMER 363 

"June 25, 1914. 
Dear Ralph Kasper : 

". . . I have always inclined toward Haekel s position. In fact, 
incline is too weak a word. I am a hopeless materialist. I see a 
soul as nothing else than the sum of the activities of the organism 
plus personal habits, memories, experiences, of the organism. I 
believe that when I am dead, I am dead. I believe that with my 
death I am just as miwh obliterated as the last mosquito you or I 
smashed. 

"I have no patience with fly-by-night philosophers such as 
Bergson. I have no patience with the metaphysical philosophers. 
With them, always, the wish is parent to the thought, and their 
wish is parent to their profoundest philosophical conclusions. I 
join with Haeckel in being what, in lieu of any other phrase, I 
am compelled to call a positive scientific thinker. ; 

Yet it was the same Jack London, caressing the thought 
of Death at the close of "The Human Drift, " who wrote: 

* * There is nothing terrible about it. With Richard Hovey, when 
he faced his death, we can say: Behold! I have lived! And with 
another and greater one, we can lay ourselves down with a will. 
The one drop of living, the one taste of being, has been good ; and 
perhaps our greatest achievement will be that we dreamed im 
mortality, even though we failed to realize it. 

Jack s sister thinks he was on the way, those last 
weeks, to modify his uncompromising attitude. At least, 
she considers, judging from things said and unsaid in their 
closer moments, that he was shaken in his certitudes about a 
number of subjects. He had always smiled or good-na 
turedly scoffed at her telepathic " hunches, " as he termed 
them; but himself underwent a puzzling experience. Mid 
most of his forenoon work, all at once he obeyed a call that 
his mortal ears had not heard, and discovered himself stand 
ing by the window straining his eyes toward Eliza s cottage, 
on a slight eminence several hundred yards away. Every 
thing looked as usual in the serene prospect, and he came to 
himself with a laugh, turned to watch the big Shire mares 



364 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

hauling his prided manure-spreader, and returned to the 
interrupted manuscript. But he continued uneasy. Odd 
it seems to me that Jack did not tell me of the incident ; for 
later in the day Eliza reported that the husband of her new 
cook had arrived unheralded and with a gun threatened her 
self, who had been totally ignorant of her cook s marriage 
status, for keeping his wife away from him. 

I repeat that I have no evidence at first hand that there 
was any radical change in Jack s method of thinking. He 
only showed an intensification of his old instinct for the * in 
exorable logic of the shadowland of the unconscious." What 
he did say to me, and more than once, was the old: "If you 
should ever go soft, I d never forgive you!" 

It was not until after the Fair had closed and his sister 
gone home, that Jack was fit to make the journey by auto 
mobile. About sunset we had a breakdown, and I remem 
ber him hobbling about a little village while the repairing 
went forward, and halting to watch some small boys spin 
ning tops. 

"But don t you do this, and this?" he said, all interest 
in the new generation, taking the toy from an urchin, and 
trying to resurrect his own cunning. No, they couldn t spin 
it his way had never seen it done, in fact ; nor could they, 
as did he, make it spin on the vertical trunk of a tree. 
Suddenly one of the lads sprang away to the side of the road 
and glibly named the make of an approaching car while the 
headlights were still distant. 

"Well, I ll be " Jack left it becomingly unsaid. 

How did you know what was the name of that machine ? 

i Know its engines, of course I can tell most of em a 
long way off, the boy bragged, nicely even with his inter 
locutor for superior skill in the top-game. 

* See, Mate, Jack lit a cigarette and contemplated the 
group, " I m getting old. I m out of touch with the younger 
generation. All they know is gasolene but I will say they 
know it pretty thoroughly!" 



THE LAST SUMMEB 365 

He was very quiet the rest of the ride, and I recall a 
curious misapprehension displayed by him as we made 
ready to leave the town of Napa in a moonlight haze. Though 
we had often visited here, this time we differed as to an 
avenue that led into the twenty-mile road to Glen Ellen. 
Jack s sense of locality was usually faultless, mine far 
from being so. But on that night I was so positive that 
finally he relapsed into silence, sending forward the parting 
shot: 

Very well have your way ; but you 11 soon find you are 
entirely off the route." 

It happened otherwise; but I made no comment as the 
dim moonlit leagues were left behind. And then I became 
conscious of a pressure as Jack s hand clasped my shoulder, 
and over it came the love-husky, golden whisper I knew of 
his most humble and generous moments : 

I love you to death, my dear. 

A return hand-caress, and "I know you do," closed the 
incident, and no reference to it was ever necessary. 

To the tune of a merry household, after finishing "Like 
Argus of the Ancient Times" Jack went at a fantastic, 
whimsical tramp study entitled "The Princess," last of the 
"On the Makaloa Mat" cluster. The denouement is 
founded upon an after-dinner story once told at our table 
by a Bohemian clubman, an inimitable raconteur. Jack 
seemed to enjoy making this tale, and could hardly wait 
each day to catch me with his "Come on and see how it 
goes!" The accomplished ease of his method seemed only 
to increase; too much, some friends and critics thought. 
Yet, reading over his last stories, with their sure technique 
and character-drawing, profound thinking in the processes 
of the human soul, I cannot consider that he had fallen off. 

How gay were host and guest, outside of what might be 
called natural sports such as swimming, and swimming the 
horses, "hiking," boating, riding, and the like, may be 



366 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

judged by a reckless prank that broke up one noonday meal. 
I do not remember how it started, nor whose was the sug 
gestion, but some one was dared to swallow, alive and whole, 
the tiny goldfish that swam among plants in a low cut- 
glass bowl on the long table. In the babble among the 
horrified girls, Jack shouted: 

" We ll play a hand at poker for it, and the fellow who 
loses must not only swallow the fish, but keep it down for 
ten minutes, no matter what is said to him." 

Remonstrance was in vain the trio, Jack, Finn Frolich, 
and Joe Mather, were "on their way." Joe, slender, fas 
tidious, was " stuck, " and exhibited, in paying the forfeit, 
the keenest courage I ever have witnessed. 

"Gee," gasped the chesty Frolich, "I couldn t have got 
it down!" 

"I d have died if I d had to do it!" Jack said in awe 
struck admiration when confronted by the tragic face of 
the man who had "put away" the scaly morsel. And "I 
never can feel quite the same toward you again," Joe s 
young wife murmured betwixt laugh and sob. 

That was an awful thing to allow, afterward I chided 
Jack. 

"It was a wild thing," he giggled concurrence, "but 
think of the fun!" 

"How about the fish?" 

"Now you re saying something," he admitted. "Just 
the same, it was quicker curtains for the fish than your fish 
in the garden pool get, slowly smothering in the gullets of 
the water-snakes! And how about live oysters, now, my 

dear . . . think, think! Anyway, I d rather have been 

the fish than Joe ! " he grimaced in conclusion. 

When, on October 2, "The Water Baby" was sent off to 
The Cosmopolitan, Jack went at his notes for a new novel, 
"Cherry," which was left less than half completed. This 
romance is laid in Hawaii. The heroine, Cherry, is a Japan- 



THE LAST SUMMER 367 

ese girl, mysteriously wrecked in the Islands when a baby, 
and evidently, by the trappings and the dead servitors on 
the abandoned sampan, infant of high degree. She is 
adopted and given every cultural advantage by a wealthy 
white couple who were childless. The motif of the work is a 
racial one, the climax depending upon Cherry s choice of a 
husband among the many, of various nationalities, who sue 
for the hand of this tantalizing oriental maid whose brain 
has divined her situation in every connotation. There 
are enough notes to guide a reader to the conclusion; but 
up to the end of the year 1921, I have not matured my 
plans for this book and that other incomplete manuscript, 
"The Assassination Bureau." 

Evenings were spent in cards, or games like "packing 
peanuts, in which Jack nearly died of mirth. Or he would 
be inclined to read aloud, poetry, or perhaps his own stories. 
And I know there were listeners, captured and enchained by 
his charm, in whose ears still rings his rich and solemn voice 
in the stately numbers of Ecclesiastes. He had read from 
this favorite several times to certain friends in Honolulu, 
and now recurred to it with increasing appreciation. At 
these times Jack was extremely handsome, with something 
hard to describe a fine nobility in expression and pose, but 
something also of the unconscious hauteur of isolation, of 
the aristocrat, of the imperator. 

One little party that was with us for a day or two con 
sisted of my uncle, Harley R. Wiley, of the University of 
California faculty, who had brought up his long poem "Dust 
and Flame to read to us ; and Blanche Partington, whose 
contribution, in this instance, beside her own ever-welcome 
personaliy, was the young Irish revolutionist s, Kathleen 
O Brennan, whom she wanted to see lock horns with Jack 
London. She was not disappointed. The pair went into the 
arena in fine form, while the rest of us sat panting with emo 
tions that ranged from serious to comic. "Never in my 



368 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

life, Blanche revives the occasion, * did I hear such a racial 
dressing-down as Jack gave Ireland !" 

More often than he went himself, Jack sent me over 
the trails with parties, and never did we twain go on any 
of the long rides once so reveled in. When guests were 
absent, the ranch claimed all his daylight recreation hours, 
and he forewent the Outlaw, and Sonoma Maid, and Hilo, 
preferring Prince, the " Love-Horse " of our fore-in-hand, 
on whom leisurely he explored the uplands, testing with 
eye and hand for soils he ached to "put to work/* This 
was not sufficient exercise for me, and I rode my colts 
longer distances, usually hunting for Jack in the woods, 
when we would descend together. Many was the day he 
said, though uncomplainingly : 

"I got in a lot of reading last night, but not much 
sleep. I 11 nap this afternoon. 

But it was seldom, homing alone from a canter, that I 
failed to see his tumbled handful of curls bobbing out of 
the door to meet me. 

"You ll never know," he said again and again, "how I 
love to hear your horse galloping toward me. I wouldn t 
miss being here to see you come in for anything!" 

I was far from easy about him. There was a twilight 
stealing over our lives was it to be ever this way, that I 
rode solitary while he must sleep ? Whither were we trend 
ing? 

"Near the end," an author has told me, "he wrote me 
about my book, and in that letter he complained of being ill. 
Said he had been down with rheumatism . . . complained 
of having had a severe time of it. Complaint of any kind 
from him seemed unusual. My impression was that he was 
not himself when he wrote this way. It came stealing over 
me that his work was nearly done. 

Jack had expected to go east in the early part of October, 
but the water-suit intervened. He was supposed to be away, 
however, and I am always grateful to fate that we had those 





JACK LONDON TWO WEEKS BEFORE HIS DEATH 



THE LAST SUMMER 369 

last few weeks uninterrupted save by a few loved ones. To 
one, my cousin Beth, he gave a book in which the inscription 
verified my fear in that he was going too fast, his mind in 
creasing upon itself with an insupportable rapidity, wave 
upon wave, factors climbing upon the backs of factors, the 
thousand-thousand connotations that might have suggested 
the loom of madness to any who could not know his natural 
scope. But to me it represented an enormous sanity, a huge, 
normal functioning, only a madness if to be super-sane is 
to be mad; and the only question was, how long could a 
man live in so unchecked a mind-functioning, while neglect 
ing his body! 

" It is a long time, * he complained in the inscription to 
Beth above referred to, " since I ve seen you to renew ac 
quaintance with you. When you were here, the world was 
here, and the world was very much and too much with 
me. Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it con 
tinually turn over! Where is the reverse gear!" 

Evening after evening he read aloud from Percy s 
"Reliques of Ancient English Poetry," and reread certain 
of these to Beth and to his two "saints," my sister Emma 
Growall, and my uncle s wife, Villa Wiley. Two large vol 
umes we went through, and the third and last to Page 288. 
The next selection is "St. George for England," and Jack s 
book-mark, the ubiquitous safety-match, still rests between 
the leaves. Dryden s " Jealousie Tyrant of the Mind" was 
an especial treasure to us. I shall hear until I die Jack s 
voice of the lover in "The Nut-Browne Mayd," which 
he never tired of repeating, and which I called for over 
and over, if only for the spell of the "viols" in his 
throat, and to see, under the long curl of lashes, the eyes he 
raised to mine at the verse-ends : 

"I love but you alone." 

He fastened upon the sweet old-English spelling of 
Darling "Dearling" and thenceforward used it exclu 
sively when addressing me, his voice like a prayer. 



370 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Interspersed with these poems we also read the Beau 
mont and Fletcher Elizabethan plays, the power and beauty 
of some of these affecting Jack profoundly. 

He frequently asked me to play or sing for him, and was 
strangely touched by a song-relic of my girlhood, "Becom- 
pense, in which occur the lines : 

"And at the last, I found that she 

Was more than all the world to me." 

Handel s " Largo," Wagner s "Pilgrim s Chorus," and 
the trio of funeral marches, favorites of all his adult life, 
were resurrected and rendered him as much pleasure as 
ever. Whenever he went to Oakland, he put in an hour 
or so in some music store, after which there was sure 
to arrive in Glen Ellen a box of phonograph records, 
most of them operatic. Many he retained, and while we 
had supper at a card-table on my glass porch, it was the 
duty of Sekiiie or the house-boy to run off a succession of 
disks laid out by Jack. In line with tracing back into race- 
consciousness, he showed increasing preference for folk 
songs, and the American negro melodies. After supper he 
would throw himself on the couch by my side, and have 
these reeled off, while he dreamed beyond all following 
of the significance of these human cries for rest. 

"It s always been that way," he would reflect. "Man 
kind has always bowed under -jome galling yoke, physical or 
mental, that has made it supplicate for rest, to escape 
the dreary agitation of the dust. Can t you hear it, 
beating down the ages listen to that play it over, Sera, 
so Mrs. London can hear it again." 

Sometimes he was very calm, and evenings were of our 
sweetest, he reading aloud or talking, I embroidering the 
beloved "L" upon absurd little "guest-towels" for the 
Wolf House that was soon to be rebuilt. His dislike to see 
me sew had been modified these many years. My philoso- 



THE LAST SUMMER 371 

phy upon needlework had so pleased him that he incorpo 
rated it in "The Little Lady of the Big House. " 

Again, over-intense, on hair-trigger to snap up any 
word as a pretext to start an argument, if he caught me 
trying to placate or turn him into smoother channels he flew 
into a mental fury, at times hot, at others deadly cool. 
Sometimes, as before noted, I let him wear himself out. 
And when, as might happen, he was soon over the mood, 
resting in my embrace he would tell me what it meant to 
unburden to me in any way at any time. 

On October 22, precisely a month before Jack went out, 
Neuadd Hillside, the "Great Gentleman, * our incompar 
able Shire Horse, died overnight while we slept. Rupture, 
they pronounced it, and veterinaries were summoned from 
all quarters. 

It was a heavy blow to Jack. Aside from the mone 
tary loss this was an incalculable set-back in his far-seeing 
plans, already under way, for breeding and in-breeding. 
I learned of the event when at nine of the morning I found 
Jack still in bed, lying quite idle. I had not time to ask the 
reason for his stricken face when he said, reaching out to 
me: 

* ( Come here and sit beside me. I have bad news for you 
your Great Gentleman is gone." 

What ? Who f what do you mean t 

"Good old Neuadd died last night." 

. . . And a little later: "I m not ashamed, Mate- 
Woman, " looking at me like a lost child through his man s 
tears. He followed me around much that day, telling more 
than I had ever dreamed of what the glorious animal had 
meant to him. 

"I tell you, Mrs. London," said Hazen Cowan, our cow 
boy, who had had the care of the stallion, "I hadn t cried 
since the last time my mother spanked me, until Neuadd fell 
down. He wouldn t lie down till he was dead, but stood 
there shaking all over." Hazen pulled a freckled hand 



372 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

across his hazel, black-lashed eyes: "I d really slept with 
him, lived with him, for months, you know. " 

" Cherry was laid aside, and Jack went to making notes 
for a novel upon the horse. "You, too, make me some mem 
ory-pictures of him," he begged. He now believed that he 
had been right in the first place about "show-condition" for 
live stock, and that had Neuadd been maintained in proper 
working-flesh, he would have been saved to the farm. 

He did not begin that book. After making a sufficient 
sketch to fix his motif, he returned to what was already 
begun how vain the endeavor we were not then to know. 
But the death of the "chief of the herd" weighed more than 
we shall ever realize. At times he gave way to a listless- 
ness I had never before seen in him. 

Next, the gentle Prince developed what eventually 
proved an incurable rheumatism, and could not be used. 
One day his master charged: "If anything should happen 
to me, and Prince s case become hopeless, don t ever let him 
go off the ranch." So the "Love-Horse" came to sleep 
with Neuadd, Sonoma Maid and Hilda, in a wooded ravine 
on the "Beauty Ranch." The only one remaining of our 
joyous coaching team is the indefatigable Outlaw, Gert, who 
lives and moves and delivers the finest of colts each and 
every renascent springtime. 

When, in mid-October, the duck-hunting season opened, 
Jack flung caution to the four winds and with gusto con 
sumed two large birds, canvasback or mallard, each day. An 
Oakland market kept him supplied. Poisoned as he already 
was with uremia, this richest of diets was nothing less than 
suicidal, and put him out of the world of human affairs 
in less than six weeks. "Oh, I love them so," was his in 
corrigible waive of my remonstrance. "I ve been good as 
gold ever since Sacramento, you ve seen; and now it won t 
hurt me to fall off my diet. Don t forget I m naturally a 
meat-eater!" 

The last guest Jack ever entertained, and who left 



THE LAST SUMMER 373 

three days before lie died, was a frail little stranger who 
came to ask if he would accept a joint guardianship of her 
children. "Sure!" said that obliging friend of the needy. 
"Put my name down with the rest!" She had studied 
medicine, and writing to me later inquired if Jack was 
accustomed to the amazing menu she had seen him consume 
twice daily while she was with us. None but a plowman 
could have survived it. 

On the 28th, shaking off the dejection of the court pro 
ceedings in the water-suit begun two days previously, Jack 
with apparent joy read a letter from the Newspaper Enter 
prise Association, of New York City, and appended is his 
reply to their self-evident query : 

* * Gentlemen : 

". . . When I lie on the placid beach of Waikiki, in the 
Hawaiian Islands, as I did last year, and a stranger introduces 
himself as the person who settled the estate of Captain Keller; 
and when that stranger explains that Captain Keller came to his 
death by having his head chopped off and smoke-cured by the 
cannibal head-hunters of the Solomon Islands in the "West South 
Pacific ; and when I remember back through the several brief years, 
to when Captain Keller, a youth of twenty-two and master of the 
schooner Eugenie, wassailed deep with me on many a night, and 
played poker to the dawn, and took hasheesh with me for the en 
tertainment of the wild crew of Pennduffryn; and who, when I 
was wrecked on the outer reef of Malu, on the island of Malaita, 
with fifteen hundred naked bushmen head-hunters on the beach 
armed with horse-pistols, Snider rifles, tomahawks, spears, war- 
clubs, and bows and arrows, and with scores of war-canoes, filled 
with salt-water head-hunters and man-eaters holding their place 
on the fringe of the breaking surf alongside of us, only four whites 
of us including my wife on board when Captain Keller burst 
through the rain-squalls to windward, in a whale-boat, with a crew 
of niggers, himself rushing to our rescue, bare-footed and bare 
legged, clad in loin-cloth and sixpenny undershirt, a brace of guns 
strapped about his middle I say, when I remember all this, that 



374 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

adventure and romance are not dead as I lie on the placid beach 
of Waikiki." 

Here is a letter to his London agent, Mr. Hughes Massie, 
dated November 5 : 

"I have not replied by cable because of two things. 

" First, I expect to be in New York sometime after the middle 
of November. I should then be able to talk the matter of such an 
autobiography of 50,000 words, about my writing, with my maga 
zine publisher. In any such event, I would personally handle the 
sale of the American first serial rights. 

"Second, I am not sure about what the contemplated 50,000 
words would be concerned. From reading your letter it would 
seem that what is asked is how I obtained at first hand the experi 
ences that are at the back of my writing. I do not see how I could 
write on such a subject at least no more than several thousand 
words. My idea would be to give my writing experiences from my 
first attempt at writing right on down the line to the present date, 
I mean my experiences with newspaper editors, magazine editors, 
book publishers, etc., etc., entering intimately into my various 
books and short stories themselves, I mean in relation to the sale 
of them to the purchasers. 

"If you could write me a letter conveying more adequately the 
subject that would be acceptable, as well as some sort of suggestions 
about the rate that the Wide World Magazine would pay for the 
first serial rights in Great Britain, I would be better equipped to 
discuss the matter with my people when I get to New York." 

"The money I get for this," he exulted, "will buy more 
farm machinery, more seed to plant, and the rest!" 

On the afternoon of the second court-hearing in the 
riparian rights contest, Jack was threatened with a repe 
tition of the severe attack he had suffered in Honolulu, 
and drilled me again in the use of the hypodermic, should 
the pain get beyond him. He was very wretched, but the 
calculus passed without resort to the needle. 

His fourth appearance in court was on November 10. 
He came home looking ill, and complained of distressing 



THE LAST SUMMER 375 

symptoms which toward evening so strongly resembled pto 
maine poisoning that finally, as the pain increased, I got him 
to take an antidote, which produced the desired effect. 
Very gravely I talked with him, and he owned that he was 
shockingly out of condition, with an increasing tendency to 
dysentery. "I ve never been quite right in that respect 
since my sickness and operation in Australia and Mexico 
didn t help matters any. But don t worry, don t bother ; 
I ll be all right, my dear!" 

And still he made no alteration in his diet of underdone 
wild fowl. 

Philosophically, and helped by psychoanalysis, Jack 
better and better understood and sympathized with human 
frailty; but temperamentally, due largely to physical and 
nervous breakdown, he became more and more intolerant 
under the torment of his uncovered sensibilities. Those 
last days were not the first wherein he had gone stark 
against the apparent truism that any one who accepts 
benefits never forgives the benefactor. 

As I sit at my typewriter, I can see him, back to me, 
elbows on desk, head in both hands, and hear him say, not 
for the initial time : 

"It s a pretty picayune world, Mate what am I to 
think? Are they all alike! Every person I ve done any 
thing for and I ve not been a pincher, have I? has thrown 
me down: near ones, dear ones and the rest." 

"Some of us are still standing by," I reminded him 
soothingly. 

"Oh, I don t mean you, of course, nor Eliza. But the 
exceptions are so rare friend and stranger alike. Run 
over the list. Take that socialist woman east I ve for 
gotten her name who wrote begging me to stake her to a 
small sum for a certain number of months, so she could 
devote herself to writing a book. It s ages since she ac 
knowledged the last check Eliza sent, and she has never 
written me one line of thanks, nor even reported progress. 



376 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

And she s but a sample of the whole hopeless, helpless mess ! 
And take cases nearer home. The hand I feed smites. It s 
only the ones I have helped. What am I to conclude ?" he 
finished, swallowed in gloom, suffering damnably. 

"But even so," I argued, trying to offset the somber 
discord induced by those raw sensibilities that made him 
pierce too easily through even the unconscious petty shams 
of civilization even so, it is nothing new to you ; do not 
forget that it has always been that way. Do not think you 
are the only one who suffers from this lamentable tendency 
of the human. Your kind has plenty of company in the 
world. No man who ever made money and played Santa 
Glaus to many, has escaped your fate. So don t isolate 
yourself as a martyr. Be a real philosopher, and forget 
it. " Then in a vain attempt to sting him out of his 
lethargy to a normal sense of values, I dared: "Be care 
ful, or you ll find yourself nursing a persecution mania! ! 

But the only reaction to this last bolt was a rather spirit 
less challenge to show him where he was wrong in his facts. 

Although Judge Edgar Zook urged the plaintiffs to 
allow him to apportion the water, which he was empowered 
to do, their lawyer declined to consider this. "We stand 
or fall, was his ultimatum. On November 14, the injunc 
tion was dissolved. Jack, desiring in neighborly manner 
to convince the plaintiffs of the veracity of claims upon 
which his testimony had been based, drove around inviting 
one and all to break bread with us at noon on Friday the 
17th, and accompany him on a little tour of inspection. 
Nearly all accepted, and with one or two exceptions it was 
their last meeting with the big neighbor whose visions for 
agricultural welfare were for the most part incomprehen 
sible to them. Jack appeared very bright during the meal, 
and no business was talked until its conclusion. But when 
we started out of doors, he became all earnest enthusiasm 
to persuade his opponents to the worth of his moral as well 



THE LAST SUMMER 377 

as legal rights in the matter at issue. One of them was 

heard to sigh : 

"We should never have gone into this fight with you!" 
And another : " What a pity we didn t get togelher with 

you in the first place and thrash out this matter instead 

of rushing into court with it ! 

Saturday I myself went to bed. I cannot, to this day, 
name my illness ; but looking back it seems that I was on 
the verge of a nerve-collapse- I must have been laboring 
under too great anxiety. The Thursday before 1 , when 
Ernest Hopkins and two camera men had been photo 
graphing Jack both for movies and * stills, I had sud 
denly, in one or two of the poses, noticed something in 
Jack s face, or an accession of something more than dimly 
felt of late, that struck fear into me. It might be described 
as a deadness or an absence of life; something that no 
face, upon an upright figure, should be. Others were full 
of vivacity, with all that Jack could command of charm and 
aliveness sitting with his rifle, laughing from the high 
seat of the water cart, or driving two monster Shire mares 
in the manure-spreader. How eloquent, like a message of 
the year s increase, that oval ring of fertilizer lay for 
weeks upon his field until erased by the winter rains ! How 
eloquent was the whole fruitful prospect, when he lay, in 
his own White Silence, in the midst of the fair land of his 
devising! To me, then, wandering among his kindly herds, 
in the effort to orient myself with a new universe, came the 
thought that he, our Jack, was the most eloquent dead man 
in all the world. That small, potent hand had written a 
deathless scroll upon the hills, and he seemed to live and 
speak and move at one with the growth he had encouraged 
in the pregnant dust of his Sweet Land. One could not 
quit and lie down in the face of such vital challenge to make 
short shrift of tears and rise to carry his banner as long as 
fate should be generous enough to let one work. 



378 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

When on a day I gallop along the blossoming ways to 
Jack s mountain meadows, missing my Strong Traveler, it 
takes little effort still to hear his blithe, companionable 
"Toot! Toot!" I would feel no startlement did he emerge, 
reining the Outlaw from the shadows of the trees, laughing 
from under the cowboy hat. 

He had been radiant in his hope that had no horizon. "I 
want to live a hundred years!" was his lusty slogan, re 
peated within a fortnight of his death. * See the dozens of 
boxes of notes filed away? Why, writers I know are look 
ing about for plots, and I ve enough here to keep me busy 
with twice a hundred novels ! 

It was the expression of just such exuberance that Jack 
felt in this stanza of John G. Neihardt s : 

Let me live out my years in heat of blood ! 

Let me lie drunken with the dreamer s wine ! 
Let me Hot see this soul-house built of mud 

Go toppling to the dust a vacant shrine ! 

When he was gone, I smiled with appreciation of an 
enthusiastic, but uninformed, reviewer who, despite Jack s 
fifty-odd books written within seventeen years, credited him 
with more than double that number, "to say nothing of 
other forms of literature." 

And there was also a letter that pleased me, written on 
November 20, and never read by Jack : 

"I have just seen your picture, driving two huge draft-horses to 
a manure-spreader. This is the picture of a man with a wagon- 
load of fertilizer. He is going to spread it over an acre of ground 
and make it fertile. In reality the man has an inexhaustible supply 
of mental pabulum which he spreads over the whole world, the 
dark spots are made lighter, the sloughs of despond are drained 
and made to blossom ... the weary and heavy laden are lifted 
up. ... In reality you are subsoil-plowing the world, preparing 
it for the seeds of Universal Brotherhood, the while you dream 
dreams. 



THE LAST SUMMER 379 

It would not be hard to imagine him a happy ghost re 
visiting his beloved lands or the running tides of San Fran 
cisco Bay, irresistibly drawn back to 

". . . The horses in the wagons with their kind long faces, 
And little boats that climb upon the waves. " 

I could but think, viewing the excellence he left be 
hind, the purity of his purpose, the way he went straight to 
his goal, that he made a shining exception to the rule that 

"The evil that men do lives after them; 
The good is oft interred with their bones. " 

I was sad when, on Saturday the nineteenth, our tenth 
wedding anniversary, I was unable to join Jack and a quaint 
woman guest at dinner. Jack brought her in to meet me, 
and later, having settled her somewhere with a book, re 
turned to stroke my throbbing head. I remember remind 
ing him of the fact that I was born and married in the 
same month, and that eight days hence, the twenty-seventh, 
would be my birthday. How little I imagined that there 
would intervene the date of my widowhood ! Yet doom was 
in the air. Subtly I felt its clutch, and this was all my 
malady. 

Jack wrote with unabated industry on Monday morning, 
and in the afternoon he came and coaxed me in a cheery and 
loving way to pull myself together and accompany him up- 
mountain. He wanted to see again a piece of land that 
adjoined the ranch, which he recalled as being well watered 
by springs. 

"I may buy it," he said. "I could develop the springs, 
and that would mean bigger crops, bigger and better cattle 
and horses, life, more life, Mate-Woman ! Oh, it s big, and 
I have so many plans and so much to do ! Come on up with 



me." 



It hurt to refuse, but I felt too weak and tired to face 
the long ride; so he went out alone, looking unusually 
disappointed. Yet what strength was mine but half a hun- 



380 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

dred hours later to meet the worst and not fail so strange 
ly are we constituted. 

Upon his return he came breaking through the house 
with his merriest step to tell me every detail of his explora 
tion. 

"I found the trail without any trouble/ he told me, 
"and when I came to the field I had in mind, there was a 
young farmer plowing. We talked quite a while, and I got 
off old Fritz to handle the soil myself. I found it of very 
good quality. It ran through my fingers, so friable, you 
know. IVe discovered who owns it, and I m going to take 
up the matter as soon as I can land the prospect of some 
money in New York. Maybe that autobiographical stuff 
will pay for it. Then further : " I m planning to go on the 
twenty-ninth. And you re still not coming with me?" he 
finished wistfully. Then he resumed the tale of his projects 
for increasing the abundance upon his acres. 

There followed a wakeful night for Jack, and he rose 
very late, frankly blue, and complaining of fatigue. The 
dysentery was so much worse that I protested at his taking 
no measures to check an alarming condition. He worked 
but a short time, and the few pages of manuscript were the 
last he ever set hand to. The several letters he dictated to 
the machine were transcribed afterward by his secretary. 
The very last letter he ever talked into the horn was the 
following : 

1 Editor Every Week, 
1 My dear sir : 

" Curses on you, Every Week ! You keep a busy man busy 
over-time trying to get rid of you while unable to tear himself away. 
I wish the man who writes the captions for your photographs had 
never been born. I just can t refrain from reading every word 
he writes. 

11 And the rest of your staff bothers me the same way. 
" Hereby registering my complaint, 

"Sincerely yours, 

"Jack London. " 



THE LAST SUMMEE 381 

The last literary notes he ever penciled, I take from his 
bed-side tablet: 

* * Socialist autobiography. 

" Martin Eden and Sea Wolf, attacks on Nietzeschean 
philosophy, which even the socialists missed the point of." 

Another page: 

"In late autumn of 1916, when Adamson Bill (8 
hrs. for Kailroad Brotherhoods) rushed at the last tick of 
the sixtieth second of the twelfth hour, through Congress 
and Senate and signed by President Wilson, agreed with 
my forecast of favored unions in Iron Heel." 

"Novel. 

"Historical novel of 80,000 words love hate primi- 
tiveness. Discovery of America by the Northmen see my 
book on same, also see Maurice Hewlett s Frey and his 
Wife/ Get in interpretation of the genesis of their myths, 
etc., from their own unconsciousness. " 

He did not go out all day, and slept in the afternoon, 
rousing himself with an effort. Eliza came over to talk 
ranch business, and they were still at it when the first and 
then the second gong sounded for our supper. Having 
shaken off the half-stupor in which he had awakened, he 
had become very excited outlining his immediate intention 
to erect on the ranch a general store, a school, and a post- 
office. I heard him wind up : 

"There are enough children on the ranch to open a 
school. The ranch people can have their homes here, trade 
here at better prices, be born here, grown up here, get their 
schooling here, and if they die they can be buried on the 
Little Hill, where the two Grcenlaw children s graves are. 
. . . No, I haven t in mind a community in the usual sense 



382 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

of a reform colony. I only look forward to making the 
place self-sustaining for every soul upon it." 

Five days after that utterance, Jack London s own ashes 
were laid there on the whispering ridge. 

Eliza told me later that in those days she worried about 
the over-working of Jack s brain. As far as possible she met 
him, yet wondered how he expected her to put into prompt 
execution the enormous tasks he prepared. A lesser man, in 
the throes of the toxemia that was destroying him, would 
have evinced a lesser "mania." Jack s mental vigor was 
spent logically along the lines of his ambition. 

^s 

Even with modern familiarity with body chemistry, 
scientists are not able to determine with exactitude the 
nature of the toxins that produce uremia. "A gastro 
intestinal type of uremia," the doctors pronounced Jack s 
disorder. The symptoms had been present for a long time 
stomachic disturbances, insomnia, sporadic melancholia, 
dysentery, rheumatic edema in ankles, and dull headaches 
alternating with the speeding up of his mental enginery. 
Convulsions were absent, and the only coma was that in 
which he breathed his last. 

When Jack at length parted from Eliza that night of 
the twenty-first, he brought with him into the warm and 
cozy veranda the sweeping current of his fervor, and con 
tinued talking in the same vein. But I saw that he was 
strung to a breaking pitch of excitement. 

"Your duck was perfection half an hour ago," I said, 
"but I m afraid it is far from that by now." 

But he was not interested in ducks, and spoke much more 
than he ate, roving into a future heydey of the ranch. I 
distinctly recall one part of his conversation, and am again 
made glad for his clean soul: 

There s a big slump coming in real estate, country, not 
city. Recollect that man who came the other day to interest 
me in some of the land among the little hills north of us? 



THE LAST SUMMER 383 

I didn t like the looks of his speculation. But if I cared to 
play the dirty business game, I could buy in largely when 
the slump comes, cut up the property and later on sell, as 
that man expects to do, to poor people at big profit. But I 
ion t care to make money that way, Mate- Woman, he broke 
off earnestly. "My hands are pretty clean, aren t they?" 

I could thankfully respond to that. His business was 
clean: his vocation, the making of books; his avocation, 
agriculture. 

He did not ask for music, nor did he frolic with the fox 
terrier, Possum, as he had done so much of late, testing that 
keen little brain and great heart in a hundred ways. In 
half an hour, Jack s exuberance had worn out; and with an 
apprehension to which I had been no stranger of late, 
I saw that he was getting argumentative, as if looking for 
trouble lest he fall into melancholy. He picked up two 
wooden box-trays of reading matter that he had brought 
with him, and lifted them to the table on which stood his 
almost untasted supper. 

"Look," he said, his voice low and lifeless, "see what 
I ve got to read to-night." 

"But you don t have to do it, mate," I said, trying to 
stir his spirit. "Always remember that you make all this 
work and overwork for yourself, and it must be because you 
choose to do it rather than to rest. My ancient argument, 
you know ! * 

There followed a colloquy upon relative values, and then 
he stood up abruptly, came around the small table, and flung 
himself on the couch into my arms. 

"Mate-Woman, Mate-Woman, you re all I ve got, the 
last straw for me to cling to, my last bribe for living. You 
know. I have told you before. You must understand. If 
you don t understand, I m lost. You re all I ve got." 

" I do understand, I cried. I understand that there s 
too much for you to do, and that you re straining too hard 
to get it done. Are you so bound on the wheel that you 



384 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

cannot ease up a little, both working and thinking? You 
are going too fast. You are too aware. And you are ill. 
Something will snap if you don t pull up. You are tired, 
perilously tired, tired almost to death. What shall we do? 
We can t go on this way!" 

The green shade was well down over his face, and I 
could not see his eyes. But the corners of his mouth 
drooped pathetically. Poor lad, my poor boy he was, in 
deed, tired to death. 

We lay there for perhaps an hour, he resting, sometimes 
sighing, saying little except by an exchange of sympathetic 
pressures which were our wont. How thankfully I remem 
ber an old vow that never, under any provocation, would I 
ignore caress of his! A few sentences of that Hour are 
too sacred and too personal to be repeated, and yet they 
were the frequent expressions of our daily round in the 
last analysis they were an expression of the ever-narrow 
ing values of life, working the changes upon his " bribe 
for living." 

All at once, turning slightly, he put his arms around my 
neck. 

"Pm so worn for lack of sleep. I m going to turn in." 
Eising, he gave voice to that which so startled me. 

" Thank God, you re not afraid of anything!" 

Never shall I know why it came from him unless it 
was he knew the unthinkable was upon him, that I would 
very shortly lose his dear comradeship, and felt that I 
would be gallant to cope with that disaster. 

When in the days to follow Jack s holographic will was 
read, first in the family circle, next by Judge T. C. Denny, 
in court, and tacit responsibilities were made known, I could 
not help reverting to that fervent exclamation. Or was it 
an entreaty, a supplication? If a prayer, at least he had 
answered it by his own passive action in neglecting, during 
the half-decade the Will had lain in deposit, to alter a line 
of it. In effect it is a love letter, written by a wise man who 



THE LAST SUMMER 385 

knew our metal, and he named Eliza Shepard and my 
cousin Willard L. Growall, as executors. But Jack gave 
loophole for discontent and criticism in that, beyond trifling 
provision for various beneficiaries, he stipulated: 

" Whatever additional may be given them shall be a 
benefaction and a kindness from Charmian K. London and 
shall arise out of Charmian K. London s goodness and de 
sire. 

Having not forfeited his trust, I am proud to append 
his closing paragraph : 

The reason that I give all my estate to Charmian K. London, 
with exceptions noted, is as follows : Charmian K. London, by her 
personal fortune, and, far more, by her personal aid to me in my 
literary work, and still vastly far more, by the love, and comfort, 
and joy, and happiness she has given me, is the only person in this 
world who has any claim or merit earned upon my estate. This 
merit and claim she has absolutely earned, and I hereby earnestly, 
sincerely, and gratefully accord it." 

After he had gone to his room, I thought to cool my 
distressed head by a stroll in the blue starlight. The burden 
of my thought was that matters could not go on in this way, 
that I must make an effort to shake Jack into recognizing 
that he would have to change his physical habits. 

When I reentered the house at about nine, it was on 
tiptoe. Jack s light was burning. Peeping across from 
my own quarters, I saw that his head had fallen upon his 
chest, the eyeshade down. As I looked, he made a slight 
movement, as if settling to sleep; and knowing his sore 
need of repose, I did not venture a chance of disturbing 
his first slumber. The last work in which he read that 
night, was a small, rusty, calf volume, " Around Cape Horn, 
Maine to California in 1852, Ship James W. Paige. My 
self half-exhausted from emotion and lack of rest, I went to 
bed, read a few moments in "The Wayside Lute," by 
Lizette Woodworth Reese, and fell asleep for the first 
unbroken eight hours I had known in weeks thereby shat- 



386 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

tering any latent faith I may ever have entertained in the 
sweet code of telepathy between those close in sympathy. 
As if to me a prophesy, one of the poems on which I 
went to sleep was this : 

"House, how still you are; 
Hearth, how cold ! 
He was vital as a star, 
As the April mold. 
Friend and singer, lad and knight, 

Very dear ; 

Hearts, how bare the dark, the light, 
Since he is not here!" 

But the last lines I scanned, and which keep impinging 
now upon memory, were these : 

" Loose me from tears, and make me see aright 
How each hath back what once he stayed to weep ; 
Homer his sight, David his little lad ! 

When, at ten minutes past eight the next morning, my 
eyes opened upon Eliza standing by my bed, with Sekine, 
our Japanese boy, in the background, I said, "Yes, what is 
it?" knowing well that only the gravest urgency brought 
them there. And just as quietly Eliza replied : 

" Sekine could not wake Jack, so came right to me. I 
think you d better come in and see what you can do." 

The stertorous respiration could be heard before we en 
tered the sleeping-porch. Jack, unconscious, was doubled 
down sidewise, showing plain symptoms of poisoning. By 
means of strong coffee we had succeeded in producing some 
reaction before the doctors arrived and the real battle for 
Jack s life began, but not at any time did we succeed in 
coaxing the limp form to any effort. The physicians first 
summoned were A. M. Thompson and W. B. Hayes of 
Sonoma; followed by J. Wilson Shiels from San Francisco, 
and Jack s own surgeon, W. S. Porter. It was only by hold 
ing him up, one on a side, that Jack could be kept in a sitting 



THE LAST SUMMER 387 

posture on the edge of the bed ; and when ranchmen, waiting 
all day at call, had him on his feet, equilibrium of the heavy 
and nerveless figure was maintained only by sheer strength 
of his supporters. Body and will could not cooperate, and 
but several times, in the middle of the day, was there a 
flicker of intelligence. Every legitimate kind of shock was 
resorted to. Physically he was for the most part beyond ef 
fort, but half-conscious response was obtained when we 
shouted alarming tidings across the abysm of coma : 

1 Man, man, wake up ! The dam has burst ! Wake, man, 
wake !" This caused a shudder in the congested, discolored 
countenance, the head jerked, the fixed and awful eyes made 
a superhuman effort to focus. There was a glimmer of con 
sciousness, evanescent as the dying light along the wires in 
an electric bulb that has been snapped off. The awareness 
faded, faded. But oh, the pang of happiness even this brief 
acknowledgment lent us who stood by, together or by turn, 
in the struggle of those midday hours ! 

When the news of harm to his dam had been reiterated 
to the point of intolerable agony of rousing from so deadly 
lethargy, we were rewarded by observing that he protested, 
with the leaden vigor of one half-thralled in nightmare, by 
slowly beating the mattress with a loosely-clenched right 
fist. The left was never raised. Whereupon shaking and 
shouting were resumed, with a like outcome. Although 
on verge of tears of pure joy at this encouragement, I 
could but note, with a sickening sense of futility, that body 
and will were at sharp variance the closer we forced 
cognition of our intent to resuscitate, the more rational 
became the opposition. He was, I see it, setting the last 
fleeting effort of his life, of his reasoned will, against 
rehabilitation of that life and will. 

Then, realizing this in spirit, I desisted, inwardly at 
least, to fight, to hope. One thing, however, I must do: 
establish one last mental contact, to serve me all the de 
prived years that should befall. 



388 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

"Let me try something/ I said, and they set him up 
right upon the edge of the bed, his helpless feet upon the 
fur rug. 

Face to face, seizing him firmly by the shoulders, I shook 
him, not roughly, but decisively, and repeated : 

"Mate! mate! You must come back! Mate! You ve 
got to come back! To me! Mate! Mdte!" 

He came back. Of course he came back. Slowly, as 
something rising from the unfathomable well of eternity, 
full knowledge brimmed into those eyes that drew to mine in 
a conscious regard, and the mouth smiled, a fleeting, writhen 
smile. It seemed as if my unbodied soul went out to meet 
his in that instant. Instant it was, ineffable, brief. But 
it contained as great, as glorious, a meeting of two as ever 
took place upon this planet. Yet it was not enough. Again 
I sent out the call to him upon the brink and again the 
smile. Was it of hail and faiewell to life as he had known 
it? Or of love, and the bliss of one perfect moment of 
understanding? Or was it of victory, that he, by lack of 
resistance, had beaten us all out, and thus invited the ulti 
mate nothingness," his passing behind the curtains into 
"The darkness that rounds the end of life"? Perhaps 
there was, too, upon the lips that smiled awry and vainly 
strove to speak, the twist of contempt for the dissolution 
that was upon him. What would we not give to know 
those words he could not frame! 

What I love to believe, when all else is said, is that he, 
who gave life and death an equal supremacy in his affection, 
was redeeming a promise made so long ago that it is woven 
into the fabric of all memories of him. 

1 Death is sweet. Death is rest. Think of it ! to rest for 
ever! I promise you that whensoever and wheresoever 
Death comes to meet me, I shall greet Death with a smile. 

How the great ones have walked arm-in-arm with Death ! 
Thus Eobert Louis Stevenson to the beloved Assassin : 



THE LAST SUMMER 389 

"I have been waiting for you these many years. Give 
me your hand, and welcome." 

Where was he, our Jack, all that day we warred with 
his fate? What was it he so hated to forswear in order to 
answer our importunity? Judging reasonably enough by 
the dreams of his latter years, I hazarded that he was wan 
dering purposefully in that same land of green fields, intent, 
watchful, happy. It had been the same with his father 
during a longer period of alternate unconscious periods 
the long life-desire fulfilled. This, oh, surely, is what we 
tortured the son from! But with the last breath which 
left his body what of the bright dream f When the splen 
did head, no longer instinct with resolution, ceased from 
its cerebration, hard it was to agree with that same cere 
bration that the Thing that Thinks is one with the Thing 
that Dies ! How I should love to believe that he, liberated, 
opened eyes upon the range of illimitable possibilities that 
had hitherto been bounded by failing mortality. Yet who 
am I to invoke for him, who declared for perfect rest, 
otherwise than Ambrose Bieree s wish to a friend: 

" Light lie the earth upon his dear, dead heart, 

And dreams disturb him never. 
Be deeper peace than Paradise his part 
For ever and for ever." 

Or, "the supreme beatitude of rest," as Jack s friend 
John Myers O Hara has it. 

Months after Jack s death I had the first and only 
"vision" of my experience. When a great asking comes 
upon me, in ungifted hours when my lamp burns low, I 
think of it. Rising one morning with a renewed cheerful 
ness that bubbled over into song, suddenly, as clearly as 
ever I had looked upon the man, I saw Jack stepping 
blithely in a green domain, tlie very picture of an Elysian 
pastoral, whistling comradely to an unmistakable friend 
shadowing his heel Peggy the Beloved, our small canine 



390 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

Irish saint of the Southern Seas. What was it a miscal 
culation of my Unconscious that let the dear dream spill 
over into Foreconsciousness to rejoice the day? 

The sun went down upon our endeavor. They had 
brought him across into my glass porch, scene of so much 
quiet happiness, and there he died upon the couch where, a 
scant twenty-four hours earlier, he had cried to me : " You 
must understand my need ! You re all I Ve got left !" 

We watched. The good breathing that had upborne ex 
pectation of recovery began to lag, and more labored became 
intake and suspiration. I became aware that one of the 
Sonoma physicians was leading me from where I stood at 
Jack s head. Mechanically we sat down in my room. 
Minutes passed, a few, an eternity of them, it seemed. 
Longer were the intervals between those breaths so plainly 
heard, a very great interval, another, and then silence abso 
lute, the sheerest vacuum of sound I had ever known. No 
one moved until Sekine, his face an oriental mask of ivory, 
stepped in and bent his head to me. 

I, who had never before lost any one essentially close ; I, 
who had been protected from all outward semblances of 
death, half an hour later went out with my own dead and 
sat by the sheeted form until, with every atom of under 
standing I possessed, I had reckoned for all time with the 
hitherto unthinkable: that ultimate silence lay upon the 
lips of my man. Let me review that day a thousand- 
thousand times, there is nothing new to face. The worst 
had befallen; the future was plain, a horizonless expanse 
of ready work in which one must in good time build out 
of the wreck a renewed, if different, joy of living and 
serving. It was good. It has worked. It has continued 
to work, test incontrovertible. I proclaim to these who 
mourn overmuch, the worth and solace of my remedy. 

When, later in the evening, we crept, his true sister and 
I, into Jack s old sleeping-place, all was restored to order 
by Sekine. The broad bed was laid and turned, the pillows 



THE LAST SUMMER 391 

piled ready for the reader, the little table set to rights, even 
to cigarettes, freshly-sharpened pencils, and thermos bottles 
of water and milk. It was incredible that the one-time tenant 
should be lying, cold and insensible, across the house. We 
looked at each other dumbly, and I sought the Japanese lad. 

"We always do it in our country for those who have 
died," he said unsteadily. "And I thought " His ex 
planation trailed into silence as he turned away. As long 
as he remained with the household, the bed was always in 
order, and we kept a single flower there and on the work- 
table. 

Once, twice, in his later years, Jack, in chance reference 
to the possibility of his dying first, departed from his 
familiar careless injunction of Oh, if I should go, scatter 
my ashes to the winds, or, if you prefer, upon the bay or 
ocean ! Eliza and I both recalled the time, when, speaking 
of his love and hopes for the ranch, he remarked : 

"If I should beat you to it, I wouldn t mind if you laid 
my ashes on the knoll where the Greenlaw children are 
buried. And roll over me a red boulder from the ruins of 
the Big House. I wouldn t want many to come. You might 
ask George. " 

But before his chosen ceremonial there were thrust in 
occasions which, left to his own choice, he would not have 
stipulated. Clothed in his favorite gray, as in gray I had 
first seen him sixteen years before, for a day in his work 
room he lay, in a gray casket that was like nothing so much 
as a cradle. Passing by I was touched by the smallness 
of it. I had thought Jack a larger man. 

The neighbors came and went, in tearful awe of the unex 
pected demise of the lovable friend they yet had never 
understood. Little as he would have approved of exhibit 
ing the discarded shell of him, it would have been needless 
affront to the tribute these people were accustomed to pay 
to the dead. And they had loved him more than they 
thought. As one of them said: 



392 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

1 I tell you, the death of Jack means a sorry day to many. 
He gave away a meal ticket and added to it a bit, too. His 
heart went out to the fellow who carried a roll of blankets 
or no blankets. " 

On Friday, at dawn, I was awakened from fitful sleep by 
the rumble of the death-wagon coming up the hill. When, 
delaying, I slipped in to the abandoned workroom, the open 
window through which he had so often passed alive told of 
the manner in which Jack London had gone from his house. 

Sekine came to where I sat, thinking, adjusting, and 
held out a handful of keys, the dingy Klondike coin-sack of 
chamois, and a few stray notes, all taken from the ranch suit 
Jack had last worn. Sekine murmured something about 
having put some notes in the breast-pocket of the burial 
clothes, together with a pencil and pad " Just as he always 
had them, Missis," he whispered. 

"But, Sekine, the notes, what notes!" I asked, biting 
back the trembling of my lips at thought of the pitiful last 
service the boy had rendered, but fearful lest some latest 
words of Jack s had gone beyond recall. 

"Something 1 wrote, and sent with him no one will 
know," Sekine explained. "I wrote," raising his head, 
1 Your Speech was silver, your Silence now is golden. That 
was all. It was my Good-by." 

My next step was to Jack s work-table, upon which lay 
the unfinished manuscript of "Cherry," just as he had laid 
down his pen. There, in that moment, looking at what was 
but an example of the myriad things he had left, in a flash 
it came to me : 

"My life cannot be long enough to mend the broken 
things to carry on the tasks that are left for me." 

Eliza did me a supreme service that morning, when she 
accompanied Jack s casket from Glen Ellen to the Cre 
matory in Oakland. One who met the little cortege in 
Oakland was Yoshimatsu Nakata, whom Sekine had suc 
ceeded. No, I was not ill, as the report went out. I pre- 



THE LAST SUMMEE 393 

ferred to remain away from a funeral which represented 
Jack s idea so little, but which I felt should be accorded 
to his daughters and their mother. Several friends, in 
cluding Frederick Bamford and others of the old Euskin 
Club, were also there, and two or three persons who had 
corresponded with Jack now saw him for the first time. 
A short address was delivered by the Eev. Edward B. 
Payne, who was familiar with Jack s unorthodox views ; and 
a poem, which had been asked of George Sterling, was read 
above his friend. 

As regards the manner of his disposal, Jack himself, 
only a few weeks before, had had this to say, in reply to a 
query from Dr. Hugo Erichson, writing for the Cremation 
Association of America, the same having been submitted 
to a number of persons of national prominence : 

4 Glen Ellen, California, October 16, 1916. 
* Dear Doctor Erichson : 

In reply to yours of recent date, undated 

"Cremation is the only decent, right, sensible way of ridding 
the world of us when the world has ridden itself of us. Also, it is 
the only fair way, toward our children, and grandchildren, and all 
the generations to come after us. Why should we clutter the land 
scape and sweet-growing ground with our moldy memories? Be 
sides, we have the testimony of all history that all such sad egotistic 
efforts have been failures. The best the Pharaohs could do with 
their pyramids was to preserve a few shriveled relics of themselves 
for our museums. 

I have little connected memory of Friday and Satur 
day. I know there was work to do, and that I slept long 
night hours under the ministering hands of dear women. 
And I walked about the farm precincts, looking rather 
curiously at the young life, animal and vegetable, which 
Jack had fostered into being. Yet he, the biggest "mote of 
life between the darks had vanished in a day ! Wherever 
I appeared, I was conscious of some workman slipping 
away, or a face turned aside in a handkerchief. The half 



394 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

hundred men, many of whom had never conversed with 
their employer, seemed unnerved by the sudden gap in their 
little universe. 

Jack, himself, would not have believed the warmth there 
was toward him in the skeptical old earth. As one ex 
pressed it: 

To me it seems like having a light turned off, with too 
few already burning, leaving the road darker and more 
dismal and difficult." 

It was almost as if his actual death purged the mankind 
who knew him and his work, of jealousy, hate, and carping 
criticism; put a seal upon the lips of the meanest. Even 
his bitterest detractors tried to be fair and charitable. If I 
needed corroboration of my own belief in this man of mine, 
I could recall the mourning of his world. It must have 
arisen from his usefulness, his big contribution of heart s 
blood to humanity. Praise of him from all quarters and in 
many tongues from every class of society, literally from 
rich man, poor man, beggar man, chief, doctor, lawyer, and 
the rest aye, thief, and worse ! Out of prisons has come to 
me a wail at his passing; for the immaterial sweetness of 
Jack and his code, squareness, his long-suffering charity, 
that patriarchal kindness, had passed in and still live behind 
the bars. 

To him, so articulate in the Great Common Things: 
" Three common pitmen in Durham will keep his memory 
green while hearts are able to respond to the bounteous 
thought of his love," reads a letter from England. "The 
sweetness of his life and work can never die." 

And another, no less than his trail-mate, Hargrave, 
wrote : 

* l Always I have been assaulted by doubts ; and then, coincident 
with the message that Jack had passed the portal that bars the 
Unknown from the Known, those doubts (independent of mental 
processes) were dispelled. I gave no reason for it the reasons of 
men are such vain things in the presence of the Infinite. 



THE LAST SUMMEB 395 

This from one more " sour-dough ": "I loved the man 
because because he was a man ; By the Turtles of Tasman, 
He was a man!" 

And this for the premanency of his message : 

l He touched the lowly side of life with a pen horn of love and 
bitter experience. ... He had lived with down and outs, and with 
animals. . . . And he wrote their tragic lives as no human ever 
wrote them before. ... So long as there are human hearts that 
feel the tender touch of love, so long as there are honest souls that 
revolt at cruelty and oppression, so long will Jack London s books 
and stories live and be read." 

"If Jack London had had faith, what a great preacher 
he would have made!" Dr. H. J. Loken, of Berkeley, ex 
claimed to his congregation, and went on to declare that 
his subject was of a deeply religious nature, pointing out 
that his criticisms had been of religion as found in the 
churches and not against Christianity itself. 

One thing I do clearly recollect of those two days before 
Jack s ashes were placed upon the Little Hill: Eliza and I 
walked there alone in a wintry sunset. Hazen, who had 
preceded us with a spade to mark the spot, received his 
instructions about the red boulder. Six horses were needed 
to move it upon the steep knoll. 

On Sunday morning, November 26, Ernest Matthews, 
accompanied by George Sterling, brought the urn from 
Oakland. We wreathed it with ferns and with yellow prim 
roses from the sweet old garden. With the primroses, as 
a tribute to Jack s adopted home, Hawaii, I wound the 
withered rust-colored leis of ilima once given Jack in Hono 
lulu by Frank linger and Colonel Sam Parker, now, too, 
both under the ground. One terrible moment was mine 
when, in the rain, I carried the small, light vessel to the 
wagon, the same in which Jack had so blithely driven his 
four. The urn seemed to gather weight until I thought I 
should be pressed to the earth, but I reached the hands that 



396 THE BOOK OF JACK LONDON 

placed it upon the hight seat before it had become insupport 
able , 

Eliza and I, together, and my people, followed the horses 
at a distance. When we had all gathered upon the dripping 
slope, Mr. G. L. Parslow, our oldest ranchman, received the 
urn from Ernest Matthews, and set it, with its flowers, in the 
tile already cemented into the ground. At that moment a 
great flood of sun-gold spilled upon us from a break in the 
leaden sky. 

As the trowel relentlessly filled the space within the 
tile, with that curious transparency of mind in crises in 
which details stand out, I observed with satisfaction that 
was a reflection of Jack s effective sense of proportion, that 
exactly the right proportion of mortar had been mixed, 
not a trowelful too much or too little. 

No word stirred the hush. No prayer, for Jack London 
prayed to no God but humanity. The men, uncovered, 
reverent, stood about among the trees, and when their 
senior had risen, the stone was rolled into place. 

Before we turned to retrace our forlorn steps to the 
house, it had come to me, once and forever, that this unpre 
tentious sepulture beneath the tall pine was but a self- 
chosen memorial. Death, with Jack, had not seemed like 
death. Nature had slipped the moorings, and he, "bold 
sailor of the grey-green sea," had gone out with the tide, 
gallant, victorious, cruising beyond the outer reef, into the 
West, to a paradise of green lands with an ocean of sails 
just over the hill. This rugged monument, by his own wish, 
could never be a place for mourning, a spot to sadden his 
sweet and happy mountainside. And, by that wish and 
whatever gods may be, it never has been. Beautiful, sing 
ing with birds, vocal with winds among the tree-tops, Jack s 
Little Hill appeals only to contemplation and tender melan 
choly. There is nothing better than that the pilgrim, 
standing above the mellow purple boulder, should say : 

"By the Turtles of Tasman, lie was a man!" 



APPENDIX 
JACK LONDON BIBLIOGRAPHY 

SERIAL. PUBLICATION 
1893 

Typhoon off the Coast of Japan SAN FRANCISCO CALL, November 
12, 1893. 

1894 

An Old Soldier s Story EVENINGS AT HOME (Oakland, California), 

May. 
Old Baldy EVENINGS AT HOME, September. 

1895 
Frisco Kid s Stories series in Oakland High School AEGIS. 

1896 
A Problem AMATEUR BOHEMIAN (Oakland), March. 

1899 

To the Man on Trail OVERLAND MONTHLY (San Francisco), Jan 
uary. 

The White Silence OVERLAND MONTHLY (San Francisco), Feb 
ruary. 

The Son of the Wolf OVERLAND MONTHLY (San Francisco), April. 

He Chortled with Glee (triolet) TOWN TOPICS (San Francisco), 
April 20. 

If I Were God One Hour (poem) TOWN TOPICS (San Francisco), 
May 11. 

The Men of Forty Mile OVERLAND MONTHLY (San Francisco), 
May 

On Furlough ORANGE JUDD FARMER, May 20. 

A Thousand Deaths BLACK CAT MAGAZINE, May. 

From Dawson to the Sea BUFFALO EXPRESS, June 4. 

Through the Rapids on the Way to Klondike HOME MAGAZINE, 
June. 

In a Far Country OVERLAND MONTHLY, June. 

397 



398 APPENDIX 

Unmasking of the Cad (tableau) TILLOTSON SYNDICATE, July. 

What Are We to Say? AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EDUCATION, July. 

Strange Verbs AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EDUCATION, July. 

The Priestly Prerogative OVERLAND MONTHLY, July. 

The Handsome Cabin Boy THE OWL, July. 

The Wife of a King OVERLAND MONTHLY, August. 

Eggs Without Salt (Joke) TOWN TOPICS, August 31. 

In the Time of Prince Charley CONKEY S MAGAZINE, September. 

On the Writer s Philosophy of Life THE EDITOR, October. 

The King of the Mazy May YOUTH S COMPANION, November. 

The Rejuvenation of Major Rathbone CONKEY S MAGAZINE, No 
vember. 

The Wisdom of the Trail OVERLAND MONTHLY, December. 

A Daughter of the Aurora CHRISTMAS WAVE San Francisco), 
December. 

1900 

Economics in the Klondike REVIEW OF REVIEWS, January. 

An Odyssey of the North ATLANTIC MONTHLY, January. 

Pluck and Pertinacity YOUTH S COMPANION, January 4. 

The Impossibility of War OVERLAND MONTHLY, March. 

A Lesson in Heraldry NATIONAL MAGAZINE, March. 

When He Came In (triolet) TOWN TOPICS, April 26. 

A Reminiscence of Boston BOSTON TRANSCRIPT, May 26. 

The End of the Chapter s. F. NEWS LETTER, June. 

The Husky HARPER S WEEKLY, June 30. 

Which Make Men Remember (Uri Bram s God) s. F. SUNDAY 
EXAMINER, June 24. 

Even Unto Death s. F. EVENING POST, July 28. 

The Dignity of Dollars OVERLAND MONTHLY, July. 

Grit of Women MCCLURE S MAGAZINE, August. 

Jan, the Unrepentant OUTING MAGAZINE, August. 

On Expansion (editorial) THE WAVE (s. F.), August 11. 

The Shrinkage of the Planet CHAUTAUQUAN MAGAZINE, September. 

Their Alcove WOMAN S HOME COMPANION, September. 

The Man with the Gash MCCLURE S MAGAZINE, September. 

Housekeeping in the Klondike HARPER S BAZAAR, September 15. 

The Phenomena of Literary Evolution THE BOOKMAN, October. 

" Girlie" THE SMART SET, October. 

Thanksgiving on Slav Creek HARPER S BAZAAR, November 24. 

What a Community Loses by the Competitive System COSMOPOLI 
TAN MAGAZINE, November. 

Dutch Courage YOUTH S COMPANION, November 29. 

The Question of a Name THE WRITER, December. 

The Material Side (First Aid to Rising Authors) JUNIOR MUNSEY 
MAGAZINE, December. 

The Great Interrogation AINSLIE S MAGAZINE, December. 



APPENDIX 399 

Semper Idem BLACK CAT MAGAZINE, December. 
Where the Trail Forks OUTING MAGAZINE, December. 
Bald Face THE NEWS, December. 

1901 

A Relic of the Pliocene COLLIER S WEEKLY, January 12. 

Sonnet THE DILETTANTE (Oakland), February. 

Lover s Liturgy THE RAVEN (Oakland), February. 

The Law of Life MCCLURE S MAGAZINE, March. 

The Lost Poacher YOUTH S COMPANION, March 14. 

At the Rainbow s End MCCLURE S SYNDICATE (PITTSBURG LEADER), 
March 24. 

Siwash AINSLIE S MAGAZINE, March. 

Editorial Crimes THE DILETTANTE (Oakland), March. 

The Scorn of Women OVERLAND MONTHLY, May. 

Minions of Midas PEARSON S MAGAZINE, May. 

The God of His Fathers MCCLURE S MAGAZINE, May. 

Chris Farrington: Able Seaman YOUTH S COMPANION, May 23. 

Oregon Article- s. F. EXAMINER, June 13. 

Washoe Article s. F. EXAMINER, Sunday, June 16. 

Review of The Octopus (Norris) IMPRESSIONS (San Francisco), 
June. 

A Hyperborean Brew METROPOLITAN MAGAZINE, July. 

Girl Fighting Duel (article) s. F. EXAMINER, July 21. 

The Schuetzenfest Articles s. F. EXAMINER, July 15 to 24. 

Daybreak NATIONAL MAGAZINE, August. 

P eter de Ville (article) s. F. EXAMINER, October 14. 

Villanelle : The Worker and the Tramp THE COMRADE, October. 

Review of Lincoln and Other Poems (Markham) s. F. EXAMINER, 
November 10. 

Ruhling-Jeffries Fight s. F. EXAMINER, November 16. 

Review of Foma Gordyieff (Gorky) IMPRESSIONNS (s. F.), Novem 
ber. 

1902 

Interview of Governor Taft s. F. EXAMINER, January 22. 

Keesh, Son of Keesh AINSLEE S MAGAZINE, January. 

Interview with a Millionaire Socialist s. F. EXAMINER, April 18. 

The Stampede to Thunder Mountain COLLIER S WEEKLY, May 3. 

To Build a Fire YOUTH S COMPANION, May 29. 

An Adventure in the Upper Sea N. Y. INDEPENDENT, May 29. 

To Repel Boarders ST. NICHOLAS MAGAZINE, June. 

Batard (Diable, a Dog) COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, June. 

Moon Face THE ARGONAUT (s. F.), July 21. 

The Cruise of the Dazzler ST. NICHOLAS MAGAZINE, July. 

The Fuzziness of Hookla Heen YOUTH S COMPANION, July 3. 

Nambok the Unveracious AINSLIE S MAGAZINE, August. 



400 APPENDIX 

Li Wan the Fair ATLANTIC MONTHLY, August. 

Wanted: A New Law of Development INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST 

REVIEW, August. 

Rods and Gunnels THE BOOKMAN, August. 
The Salt of the Earth ANGLO-AMERICAN MAGAZINE, August. 
In the Forests of the North PEARSON s MAGAZINE, September. 
Again the Literary Aspirant THE CRITIC, September. 
The Master of Mystery OUT WEST (Los Angeles), September. 
The Story of Jees Uck THE SMART SET, September. 
The Sickness of Lone Chief OUT WEST, October. 
The League of the Old Men BRANDUR MAGAZINE, October. 
The Hearst Memorial Building s. P. EXAMINER, November 19. 

1903 

In Yeddo Bay ST. NICHOLAS MAGAZINE, February. 
Getting into Print THE EDITOR, March. 
How I Became a Socialist THE COMRADE, March. 
The One Thousand Dozen NATIONAL MAGAZINE, March. 
Contradictory Teachers : Our Benevolent Feudalism, Social Unrest 

(A Review) INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW, May. 
The Terrible and Tragic in Fiction THE CRITIC, June. 
Faith of Men SUNSET MAGAZINE, June. 
The Shadow and the Flash THE BOOKMAN, June. 
The Call of the Wild SATURDAY SVENING POST, June 20-July 18. 
People of the Abyss---wiLsmRE s MAGAZINE, March-January, 1904. 
Article on Boy Criminal s. F. EXAMINER, June 21. 
These Bones Shall Rise Again THE READER, June. 
Gold Hunters of the North ATLANTIC MONTHLY, July. 
The Leopard Man s Story LESLIE S MAGAZINE, August. 
Stranger Than Fiction THE CRITIC, August. 
The Marriage of Lit-Lit LESLIE S MAGAZINE, September. 
Local Color AINSLIE S MAGAZINE, October. 
The Class Struggle N. Y. INDEPENDENT, November 5. 
Amateur Night THE PILGRIM, December. 
Too Much Gold AINSLIE S MAGAZINE, December. 

1904 

The Golden Poppy THE DELINEATOR, January. 

The Story of Keesh HOLIDAY MAGAZINE, January. 

The Scab ATLANTIC MONTHLY, January. 

The Sea Wolf CENTURY MAGAZINE, January-November. 

The Tramp WILSHIRE MAGAZINE, February-March. 

Russian- Japanese War Correspondence HEARST PAPERS, February- 
June. 

On the Banks of the Sacramento YOUTH S COMPANION, March 17. 

The Yellow Peril s. F. EXAMINER, September 25. 

Explanation of the Great Socialist Vote of the United States s. F. 
EXAMINER, November 10. 



APPENDIX 401 

1905 

White and Yellow YOUTH S COMPANION, February 16. 

The King of the Crooks YOUTH S COMPANION, March 2. 

A Raid on the Oyster Pirates YOUTH S COMPANION, March 16. 

The Siege of the " Lancashire Queen" YOUTH S COMPANION, 

March 30. 

Charley s Coup YOUTH S COMPANION, April 13. 
Demetrios Contos YOUTH S COMPANION, April 27. 
The Game METROPOLITAN MAGAZINE, April-May. 
Yellow Handkerchief YOUTH S COMPANION, May 11. 
The Walking Delegate (Review) s. F. EXAMINER, May 28. 
The White Man s Way SUNDAY MAGAZINE SYNDICATE, July. 
Britt-Nelson Fight s. F. EXAMINER, September 10. 
The Long Day (Review) s. F. EXAMINER, October. 
Love of Life MCCLURE S MAGAZINE, December. 
All Gold Canyon CENTURY MAGAZINE, November. 
The Sun Dog Trail HARPER S MAGAZINE, December. 
Holy Jumpers Article BOSTON AMERICAN, December 19. 

1906 

What Life Means to Me COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, March. 

A Nose for the King BLACK CAT, March. 

White Fang OUTING MAGAZINE, May-October. 

Earthquake Article COLLIER S WEEKLY, May 5. 

Planchette COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, June- August. 

Brown Wolf EVERYBODY S MAGAZINE, August. 

The Unexpected MCCLURE S MAGAZINE, August. 

Review of THE JUNGLE (Sinclair) N. Y. JOURNAL, August 8. 

Review of THE JUNGLE (complete) WILSHIRE S MAGAZINE, August. 

My Best Short Story THE GRAND MAGAZINE (London), August. 

The Apostate WOMAN S HOME COMPANION, September. 

Before Adam EVERYBODY S MAGAZINE, October, 06 to Feb., 07. 

Up the Slide YOUTH S COMPANION, October 25. 

A Wicked Woman THE SMART SET, November. 

Letter to H. M. Bland STORY CLUB MAGAZINE, November. 

Moyer-Haywood Article Chicago DAILY SOCIALIST, November 4. 

First Boat Letter (Snark Voyage) WOMAN S HOME COMPANION, 

November. 

The Somnambulists N. Y. INDEPENDENT, December 20. 
The Wit of Porportuk TIMES MAGAZINE, December. 
The Cruise of the Snark COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, December. 

1907 

When God Laughs THE SMART SET, January. 

My Castle in Spain THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL, January. 

Is Jack London a Plagiarist ? N. Y. INDEPENDENT, February 14. 

Just Meat COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, March. 



402 APPENDIX 

Created He Them THE PACIFIC MONTHLY, April. 

Finis ("Morganson s Finish") SUCCESS MAGAZINE, May. 

Confession COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, May. 

A Day s Lodging COLLIER S WEEKLY, May 25. 

Holding Her Down COSMOPOLITAN, June. 

Pinched COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, July. 

The Pen COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, August. 

Pictures COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, September. 

Chased by the Trail YOUTH s COMPANION, Sept. 26. 

Two Thousand Stiffs COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, October. 

A Royal Sport (Riding the South Sea Surf) WOMAN S HOME COM 
PANION, October. 

The Intercollegiate Socialist Society POTENTIA SYNDICATE, October. 

Gay Cats and Road Kids COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, November. 

Hoboes that Pass in the Night COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, De 
cember. 

1908 

Revolution CONTEMPORARY REVIEW (New York), January. 
The Passing of Marcus O Brien THE READER, January. 
Trust CENTURY MAGAZINE, January. 

The Lepers of Molokai WOMAN S HOME COMPANION, January. 
That Spot SUNSET MAGAZINE, February. 

Bulls COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, March. 

The Inconceivable and Monstrous HARPER S WEEKLY, July 18. 

Adventure HARPER S WEEKLY, July 25. 

To Build a Fire CENTURY MAGAZINE, August. 

Finding One s Way About HARPER S WEEKLY, August 1. 

The First Landfall HARPER S WEEKLY, August 8. 

The Other Animals COLLIER S WEEKLY, September 5. 

The Nature Man WOMAN S HOME COMPANION, September. 

Flush of Gold HAMPTON S BROADWAY MAGAZINE, October. 

The Enemy of All the World THE RED BOOK, October. 

The High Seat of Abundance WOMAN S HOME COMPANION, No 
vember. 

Martin Eden PACIFIC MONTHLY, Sept., 1908, to Sept., 1909. 

Lost Face N. Y. HERALD, December 13. 

A Curious Fragment TOWN TOPICS, December 10. 

Burns-Johnson Fight N. Y. HERALD and Syndicate, and Sydney, 
Australia, STAR, December 27. 

1909 

The House of Mapuhi MCCLURE S MAGAZINE, January. 

The Dream of Debs INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW, January- 
February. 

First Impressions of Australia THE STAR, Sydney, Australia. 
(This series of articles published January.) 

On Strikes. 



APPENDIX 403 

The Japanese Question. 

Fortune in a Newspaper. 

Sobraun Article. 

The Yankee Myth. 

The Seed of McCoy CENTURY MAGAZINE, April. 

Beche de Mer English ("Too Much English") WOMAN S HOMH 
COMPANION, April. 

Make Westing SUNSET MAGAZINE, April. 

Aloha Oe THE SMART SET, May. 

South of the Slot SATURDAY EVENING POST, May 22. 

Good-by, Jack ! THE RED BOOK, June. 

The Chinago HARPER S MONTHLY, July. 

The Sheriff of Kona AMERICAN MAGAZINE, August. 

A Piece of Steak SATURDAY EVENING POST, November 29. 

Letter to Arthur Stringer (Nature-Faking) CANADA WEST MONTH 
LY, November. 

Koolau the Leper THE PACIFIC MONTHLY, December. 

Mauki HAMPTON S MAGAZINE, December. 

The Japanese Question SUNSET MAGAZINE, December. 

1910 

The House of the Sun PACIFIC MONTHLY, January. 

The Whale Tooth SUNSET MAGAZINE, January. 

A Pacific Traverse, PACIFIC MONTHLY, February. 

Goliah, THE BOOKMAN, February. 

Typee PACIFIC MONTHLY, March. 

Chun Ah Chun WOMAN S MAGAZINE, March. 

The Terrible Solomons HAMPTON s MAGAZINE, March. 

The Stone-Fishing at Bora Bora PACIFIC MONTHLY, April. 

An Amateur Navigator PACIFIC MONTHLY, May. 

Cruising in the Solomons PACIFIC MONTHLY, June-July. 

Burning Daylight NEW YORK HERALD, June 19-August 28. 

Jeffries-Johnson Fight articles NEW YORK HERALD and Syndicate 
(Eleven articles) June 24 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, July 2, 3, 4 
(training camp) ; 5 (fight). 

The Unparalleled Invasion MC CLURE S MAGAZINE, July. 

Letter on Young Authors Endowment N. Y. INDEPENDENT, 
July 28. 

The Amateur M.D. PACIFIC MONTHLY, August. 

The Heathen EVERYBODY S MAGAZINE, August. 

When the World Was Young SATURDAY EVENING POST, Sep 
tember 10. 

Winged Blackmail THE LEVER (Chicago), September. 

Adventure (Novel) POPULAR MAGAZINE, Nov. 1-Jan. 15, 1911. 

The Benefit of the Doubt SATURDAY EVENING POST, November 12. 

Under the Deck Awnings SATURDAY EVENING POST, November 19. 

The Madness of John Harned EVERYBODY S MAGAZINE, November 



404 APPENDIX 

The Inevitable White Man BLACK CAT MAGAZINE, November. 
The House of Pride PACIFIC MONTHLY, December. 
To Kill a Man SATURDAY EVENING POST, December 10. 
Yah ! Yah ! Yah ! COLUMBIAN MAGAZINE, December. 
Bunches of Knuckles NEW YORK HERALD, December 18. 

1911 

The Human Drift THE FORUM, January. 

The Hobo and the Fairy SATURDAY EVENING POST, February 11. 

The Eternity of Forms THE RED BOOK, March. 

The Strength of the Strong HAMPTON S MAGAZINE, March. 

A Son of the Sun SATURDAY EVENING POST, May 27. 

War London NATION, May. 

An Alaskan Vacation PANAMA MAGAZINE, May. 

SMOKE BELLEW: The Taste of the Meat COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, 

June. 

The First Poet (play) CENTURY MAGAZINE, June. 
The Proud Goat of Aloysius Pankburn SATURDAY EVENING POST, 

June 24. 

The Goat Man of Fautino SATURDAY EVENING POST, July 29. 
The Night Born EVERYBODY S MAGAZINE, July. 
SMOKE BELLEW: The Meat COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, July. 
The Mexican SATURDAY EVENING POST, August 19. 
SMOKE BELLEW: The Stampede to Squaw Creek COSMOPOLITAN 

MAGAZINE, August. 

Navigating Four Horses North of the Bay SUNSET MAGAZINE, 
September. 

The Abysmal Brute POPULAR MAGAZINE, September 1. 

SMOKE BELLEW: Shorty Dreams COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, Sep 
tember. 

A Little Account with Swithin Hall SATURDAY EVENING POST, 
September 2. 

A Gobotu Night SATURDAY EVENING POST, September 30. 

SMOKE BELLEW : The Man on the Other Bank COSMOPOLITAN 
MAGAZINE, October. 

The Pearls of Parlay SATURDAY EVENING POST, October 14. 

SMOKE BELLEW : The Race for Number Three COSMOPOLITAN MAGA 
ZINE, November. 

Nothing that Ever Came to Anything SUNSET MAGAZINE, No 
vember. 

The Jokers of New Gibbon SATURDAY EVENING POST, November 11. 

The End of the Story WOMAN S WORLD, November. 

By the Turtles of Tasman MONTHLY MAGAZINE SECTION (Hearst), 
November. 

SMOKE BELLEW: The Little Man COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, De 
cember. 

A Classic of the Sea N. Y. INDEPENDENT, December 14. 



APPENDIX 405 

1912 

SMOKE BELLEW: The Hanging of Cultus George COSMOPOLITAN 

MAGAZINE, January. 
SMOKE BELLEW : The Mistake of Creation COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, 

February. 
SMOKE BELLEW: A Flutter in Eggs COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, 

March. 

The Sea Farmer THE BOOKMAN, March. 
The Grilling of Lorrin Ellery NORTHERN WEEKLY GAZETTE (TTLLOT- 

SON SYNDICATE), March. 

Feathers of the Sun SATURDAY EVENING POST, March 9. 
Smoke Bellew : The Townsite of Tra-Lee COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, 

April. 

The Prodigal Father WOMAN S WORLD, May. 
SMOKE BELLEW : The Wonder of Woman COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, 

May, June. 

Small Boat Sailing COUNTRY LIFE IN AMERICA, August. 
The Captain of the Susan Drew (The Tar Pot) MONTHLY MAGA 
ZINE SECTION, November 24. 

1913 

John Barleycorn SATURDAY EVENING POST, March 15-May 3. 

The Valley of the Moon COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, April-De 
cember. 

Samuel THE BOOKMAN, May. 

The Scarlet Plague AMERICAN SUNDAY MONTHLY MAGAZINE, June 
8-Sept. 14. 

The Mutiny of the Elsinore (The Sea Gangsters) HEARST S MAGA 
ZINE, Nov., 1913, to Aug., 1914. 

1914 

Mexican War Correspondence from Vera Cruz COLLIER S WEEKLY : 

The Bed Game of War, May 16. 

With Funston s Men, May 23. 

Mexico s Army and Ours, May 30. 

Stalking the Pestilence, June 6. 

The Trouble-Makers of Mexico, June 13. 

The Law-Givers, June 20. 

Our Adventures in Tampico, June 27. 
Told in the Drooling Ward THE BOOKMAN, June. 
The Star Rover AMERICAN SUNDAY MONTHLY MAGAZINE, Sep 
tember 6, 1914-October 3, 1915. 

1915 

The Little Lady of the Big House COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, April, 
1915, to January, 1916. 



406 APPENDIX 

1916 

Our Guiltless Scapegoats, the Stricken of Molokai (article) PUB 
LIC LEDGER, Philadelphia, June 21. 

Politics and Leprosy PUBLIC LEDGER, Philadelphia, August 6. 

My Hawaiian Aloha (three articles) COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, 
September-November. 

The Hussy COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, December. 

1917 

Jerry COSMOPOLITAN, January- April. 

The Kanaka Surf (Man of Mine) HEARST S MAGAZINE, February. 

Like Argus of the Ancient Times HEARST S MAGAZINE, March. 

Michael COSMOPOLITAN, May-October. 

The Bones of Kahekili COSMOPOLITAN, July. 

1918 

When Alice Told Her Soul COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, March. 
The Princess COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, June. 
The Tears of Ah Kim COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, July. 
The Water Baby COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, September. 
The Red One COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, October. 
In the Cave of the Dead (Shin Bones) COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, 
November. 

1919 

On the Makaloa Mat COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE, March. 
Hearts of Three N. Y. JOURNAL, May 11, June 21. 



BOOKS 

1 THE SON OF THE WOLF, Houghton, Mifflin Company, April 7, 

1900. 
(Collected stories) 

The White Silence 
The Son of the Wolf 
The Men of Forty Mile 
In a Far Country 
To the Man on Trail 
The Priestly Prerogative 
The Wisdom of the Trail 
The Wife of a King 
An Odyssey of the North 

2 THE GOD OF HIS FATHERS, McClure, Phillips & Company, May, 

1901. 
(Collected stories) 

The God of His Fathers 

The Great Interrogation 

Which Makes Men Remember 

Siwash 

The Man with the Gash. 

Jan, the Unrepentant 

Grit of Women 

Where the Trail Forks 

A Daughter of the Aurora 

At the Rainbow s End 

The Scorn of Women 

3 A DAUGHTER OF THE SNOWS, J. B. Lippincott Co., October, 1902. 
(Novel) 

4 CHILDREN OF THE FROST, The Macmillan Company, September, 

1902. 
(Collected stories) 

In the Forests of the North 
The Law of Life 
Nam-Bok the Un veracious 
The Master of Mystery 
The Sunlanders 
The Sickness of Lone Chief 
Keesh, the Son of Keesh 
The Death of Ligoun 

407 



408 APPENDIX 

Li Wan, the Fair 

The League of the Old Men 

5 THE CRUISE OF THE DAZZLER, The Century Co., October, 1902. 
(Juvenile) 

6 THE CALL OF THE WILD, The Macmillan Company, July, 1903. 
(Novel) 

7 THE KEMPTON-WACE LETTERS, The Macmillan Company, May, 

1903. 

(A series of Philosophical Letters on Love. Written in Collab 
oration with Anna Strunsky.) 

8 THE PEOPLE OF THE ABYSS, The Macmillan Company, November, 

1903. 
(First-hand observation of the East End of London.) 

9 THE FAITH OF MEN, The Macmillan Company, April, 1904. 
(Collected stories) 

A Relic of the Pliocene 

A Hyperborean Brew 

The Faith of Men. 

Too Much Gold 

The One Thousand Dozen 

The Marriage of Lit-Lit 

Batard 

The Story of Jees-Uck 

10 THE SEA WOLF, The Macmillan Company, October, 1904. 
(Novel) 

11 WAR OF THE CLASSES, The Macmillan Company, April, 1905. 
(Sociological essays) 
The Class Struggle 
The Tramp 
The Scab 

The Question of the Maximum 
A Review (Contradictory Teachers). 
Wanted: A New Law of Development 
How I Became a Socialist 

12 THE GAME, The Macmillan Company, June, 1905. 
(Novel) 

13 TALES OF THE FISH PATROL, The Macmillan Company, Septem 
ber, 1905. 
(Juvenile) 

White and Yellow 

The King of the Crooks 

A Raid on Oyster Pirates 

The Siege of the Lancashire Queen" 



APPENDIX 409 

Charley s Coup 
Demetrios Contos 
Yellow Handkerchief 

14 MOON-FACE ANE OTHER STORIES, The Macmillan Company, Sep 
tember, 1906. 
(Collected stories) 

Moon-Face : A Story of a Mortal Antipathy 

The Leopard Man s Story 

Local Color 

Amateur Night 

The Minions of Midas 

The Shadow and the Flash 

All Gold Canyon 

Planchette 

15 SCORN OF WOMEN, The Macmillan Company, November, 1906. 
(Play) 

16 WHITE FANG, The Macmillan Company, September, 1906. 
(Novel) 

17 LOVE OF LIFE, AND OTHER STORIES, The Macmillan Company, 

September, 1907. 
(Collected stories) 
Love of Life 
A Day s Lodging 
The White Man s Way 
The Story of Keesh 
The Unexpected 
Brown Wolf 
The Sun Dog Trail 
Negore, the Coward 

18 BEFORE ADAM, The Macmillan Company, February, 1907. 
(Novel) 

19 THE ROAD, The Macmillan Company, November, 1907. 
(Tramping Experiences) 
Confession 
Holding Her Down 
Pictures 
"Pinched" 
The Pen 

Hoboes that Pass in the Night 
Road-Kids and Gay- Cats 
Two Thousand Stiffs 
Bulls 

20 TKE IRON HEEL, The Macmillan Company, February, 1908. 
(Novel) 



410 APPENDIX 

21 MARTIN EDEN, The Macmillan Company, September, 1909. 
(Semi-autobiographic Novel) 

22 LOST FACE, The Macmillan Company, March, 1910. 
(Collected stories) 
Lost Face 
Trust 

To Build a Fire 
That Spot 
Flush of Gold 

The Passing of Marcus O Brien 
The Wit of Porportuk 

23 REVOLUTION, The Macmillan Company, March, 1910. 
(Sociological Essays and Others) 
Revolution 
The Somnambulists 
The Dignity of Dollars 
Goliah 

The Golden Poppy 
The Shrinkage of the Planet 
The House Beautiful 
The Gold Hunters of the North 
Foma Gordyeeff 
These Bones Shall Rise Again 
The Other Animals 
The Yellow Peril 
What Life Means to Me 

24 BURNING DAYLIGHT, The Macmillan Company, October, 1910. 
(Novel) 

25 THEFT, The Macmillan Company, November, 1910. 
(Play) 

26 WHEN GOD LAUGHS, The Macmillan Company, January, 1911. 
(Collected stories) 

When God Laughs 
The Apostate 
A Wicked Woman 
Just Meat 
Created He Them 
The Chinago 
Make Westing 
Semper Idem 
A Nose for the King 
The Francis Spaight 
A Curious Fragment 
A Piece of Steak 



APPENDIX 411 

27 ADVENTURE, The Macmillan Company, March, 1911. 
(Novel) 

28 THE CRUISE OF THE SNARK, The Macmillan Company, June, 

1911. 
(Articles) 

Foreword. 

The Inconceivable and Monstrous 

Adventure 

Finding One s Way About 

The First Landfall 

A Royal Sport 

The Lepers of Molokai 

The House of the Sun 

A Pacific Traverse 

Typee 

The Nature Man 

The High Seat of Abundance 

Stone-Fishing of Bora Bora 

The Amateur Navigator 

Cruising in the Solomons 

Beche de Mer English 

The Amateur M.D. 

Backword 

29 SOUTH SEA TALES, The Macmillan Company, October, 1911. 
(Collected stories) 

The House of Mapuhi 

The Whale Tooth 

Mauki 

"Yah! Yah! Yah!" 

The Heathen 

The Terrible Solomons 

The Inevitable White Man 

The Seed of McCoy 

80 A SON OF THE SUN, Doubleday, Page & Company, May, 1912. 
(Collected stories) 

A Son of the Sun 

The Proud Goat of Aloysius Pankburn 

The Devils of Fuatino 

The Jokers of New Gibbon 

A Little Account with Swithin Hall 

A Gobotu Night 

The Feathers of the Sun 

The Pearls of Parlay 

31 THE HOUSE OF PRIDE, The Macmillan Company, March, 1912. 
(Collected stories) 

The House of Pride 



412 APPENDIX 

Koolau the Leper 
Good-by, Jack ! 
Aloha Oe 
Chum Ah Chun 
The Sheriff of Kona 

32 SMOKE BELLEW TALES, The Century Co., October, 1912. 
The Taste of the Meat 
The Meat 

The Stampede to Squaw Creek 
Shorty Dreams 
The Man on the Other Bank 
The Race for Number Three 
The Little Man 

The Hanging of Cultus George 
The Mistake of Creation 
A Flutter in Eggs 
The Town-Site of Tra-Lee 
Wonder of Woman 

33 THE NIGHT BORN, The Century Co., February, 1913. 
(Collected stories) 
The Night Born 
The Madness of John Harned 
When the World Was Young 
The Benefit of the Doubt 
Winged Blackmail 
Bunches of Knuckles 
War 

Under the Deck Awnings 
To Kill a Man 
The Mexican 

34 THE ABYSMAL BRUTE, The Century Co., May, 1913. 
(Novel) 

35 JOHN BARLEYCORN, The Century Co., August, 1913. 
(Autobiographical novel) 

36 THE VALLEY OF THE MOON, The Macmillan Company, October, 

1913. 
(Novel) 

37 THE STRENGTH OF THE STRONG, The Macmillan Company, May, 

1914. 
(Collected stories) 

The Strength of the Strong 
South of the Slot 
The Unparalleled Invasion 
The Enemy of All the World 
The Dream of Debs 



APPENDIX 413 

The Sea Farmer 
Samuel 

38 THE MUTINY OF THE ELSiNORE, The Macmillan Company, Sep 
tember, 1914. 
(Novel) 

39 THE SCARLET PLAGUE, The Macmillan Company, May, 1915. 
(Novel) 

40 THE STAR ROVER, The Macmillan Company, October, 1915. 
(Novel) 

41 THE ACORN PLANTER, The Macmillan Company, February, 1916. 
(Play) 

42 THE LITTLE LADY OF THE BIG HOUSE, The Macmillan Company, 

April, 1916. 
(Novel) 

43 THE TURTLES OF TASMAN, The Macmillan Company, September, 

1916. 
(Collected stories) 

By the Turtles of Tasman 
The Eternity of Forms 
Told in the Drooling Ward 
The Hobo and the Fairy 
The Prodigal Father 
The First Poet 
Finis 
The End of the Story 

(This was the last book published before Jack London s death on 
November 22, 1916.) 

44 THE HUMAN DRIFT, The Macmillan Company, February, 1917. 
(Articles arranged by Jack London for publication shortly 

before his death, and published posthumously.) 
The Human Drift 

Nothing that Ever Came to Anything 
That Dead Men Rise Up Never 
Small-boat Sailing 
Four Horses and a Sailor 
A Classic of the Sea 
A Wicked Woman (Curtain Raiser) 
The Birth Mark (Sketch) 

45 JERRY OF THE ISLANDS, The Macmillan Company, April, 1917. 
(Novel) 

46 MICHAEL BROTHER OF JERRY, The Macmillan Company, No 
vember, 1917. 



414 APPENDIX 

47 THE RED ONE, The Macmillan Company, October, 1918. 
(Collected stories) 
The Red One 
The Hussy 

Like Argus of the Ancient Times 
The Princess 

48 ON THE MAKALOA MAT, The Macmillan Company, September, 

1919. 
(Collected stories) 

On the Makaloa Mat 

The Bones of Kahekili 

When Alice Told Her Soul 

Shin-Bones 

The Water Baby 

The Tears of Ah Kim 

The Kanaka Surf 

49 HEARTS OF THREE, The Macmillan Company, September, 1920. 
(Novel for moving-picture, with explanatory Preface.) 

Other collections, such as War Notes (Japanese-Russian, and Vera 
Cruz, 1914), and Prize-Fight articles, will be issued in course 
of time. 



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